According to sources, a long-serving Scouts Canada staffer who is now facing allegations of historic child sex offenses was a member of the executive who served as spokesperson when the organization developed measures to safeguard youngsters from sexual abuse.
On June 16, John Rietveld, 67, of Ottawa, was charged with one offense of buggery and one count of indecent assault on a man, as well as two counts of sexual assault, sexual interference with someone under the age of 16, and inviting sexual touching of someone under the age of 16.
The company confirmed Rietveld, who joined Scouts Canada in 1975, served as the organization's national executive director of communications from 1987 to 1998. In the 1990s, his name appeared in articles on the organization's work to prevent child abuse in the Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun, and Maclean's.
These efforts included the implementation of required police background checks and volunteer screening training. "We rely on what we believe to be a fairly progressive screening program, one that other organizations are looking to as an example," Rietveld is quoted as saying in a 1999 Vancouver Sun article detailing how Scouts Canada went to great lengths to provide a safe atmosphere.
From 1999 to 2001, Rietveld was executive director of revenue development, and from 2002 to 2011, he was president and executive director of the Scouts Canada Foundation. The claims against Rietveld concern claimed instances involving a youngster that occurred between 1978 and 1980 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Mississauga, Ontario.
The alleged occurrences involving a girl occurred between 2004 and 2005 in Perth, Ont., and Ottawa. In court, none of the charges have been proven. A publication prohibition protects the identity of both youngsters. Following a CBC investigation into Scouts Canada in 2011, the organization made a sweeping apology for its handling of sexual assaults.
The following independent assessment, done in 2012 by auditing firm KPMG, discovered 65 situations in which Scouts Canada failed to notify police about claims, and another 64 in which it was unclear if police were notified.