A lawsuit filed last week sued William Airey and accused the CEO of Moose International of grooming and sexually abusing Jason Peck when he was 12 years old. News about allegations of abuse by Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky inspired Peck to come forward and disclose his own abuse by Airey, which took place more than 30 years ago.
Moose International is a fraternity organization, describing itself on its website as “an international organization of men and women, dedicated to caring for young and old, bringing communities closer together and celebrating life.”
Jason Peck met William Airey through Airey’s role in the organization. Airey befriended and abused Peck at Moose-related events and functions in Ohio and New Orleans.
What’s troubling is that Airey has been working around children for decades, from before Peck’s abuse up until the present day, where Airey currently works at Moose International headquarters. The headquarters is inside a children and youth campus located just west of Chicago in Aurora, Illinois known as Mooseheart Child City & School. The community has been in existence since 1913 and houses, educates, and provides for more than 12,000 youth and children on its grounds.
Sadly, what we know about child sexual abusers leads us to believe that Jason Peck is likely not the only sexual abuse victim in the Moose community. According to a 1989 study of offenders, perpetrators seek out children who are vulnerable, lonely, quiet, and troubled. Another study from 2010 (both studies are cited here) notes that family structure is the most important risk factor in child sexual abuse. In fact, children who live without either parent, such as in foster care or in a residential community such as Mooseheart, are 10 times more likely than children who live with their biological parents to be sexually abused.
The children living at Mooseheart Child City & School and all children like Jason Peck who were once involved, or who continue to be involved, in Moose International organizations and events need to know that sexual touching, molestation or abuse is never appropriate. Marc Pearlman, who works with us in Chicago, is part of the legal team representing Jason Peck. If you were sexually abused by a member or volunteer of the Moose organizations, we will listen and believe your story. More importantly, we can help expose the offender and seek the truth while giving you the tools to recover your power.
Call us at 312-525-5771 or 888-567-5557 for a free consultation.
Jeff Anderson is an attorney and advocate working with survivors of clergy sexual abuse at Jeff Anderson & Associates.