News Release: Former Scouts Allege Abuse by Scoutmaster in Rochester

News Release
July 22, 2013
Rochester News Conference Wednesday

Former Boy Scout Leader, Boy Scouts of America, Gamehaven Council, St. Pius X Catholic Church Sued for Alleged Sexual Abuse in Rochester

2012 release of the “Perversion Files” included Rochester Boy Scout official and 22 other Minnesota Scout Leaders

(Rochester, MN) At a news conference on Monday in Rochester, prominent St. Paul-based sexual abuse attorney Jeff Anderson announced the filing of civil lawsuits on behalf of two former Rochester residents who allege they were sexually abused by a Boy Scout Leader in the 1970’s.

The lawsuits, filed under the Child Victims Act, the new Minnesota law eliminating the civil statute of limitations for children who are sexually abused and allowing a 3-year window for past victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits, name the Boy Scouts of America, Gamehaven Council, Inc., St. Pius X Catholic Church (the sponsor of the troop) and former troop leader and convicted child molester Richard Hokanson, as defendants.

The two former scouts, identified in the complaint as Doe 8 and Doe 9 to protect their privacy, were abused by Hokanson in the 1970’s when Hokanson was the scout leader of St. Pius X sponsored Troop 210 in Rochester.

Anderson said like many cases of child sexual abuse of that era, “the way these children were treated is tragic and sad.” “Indeed,” Anderson added, “it breaks your heart to know that there were multiple reports that Hokanson was sexually abusing Doe 8 to adults affiliated with the Boy Scouts and St. Pius X, including a scout committee of adult volunteer leaders, but incredibly not one of the individuals took any action to protect this child or future children, including Doe 9.”

A later law enforcement investigation found that in January, 1980, a mother of a troop member told an assistant scout leader that five troop members had reported to her that “Hokanson was gay and he plays with the boys while showing them first aid.” The Assistant Scout Leader refused to report Hokanson, took no steps to talk with the troop members who reported the abuse, failed to initiate an investigation of Hokanson and suggested the mother discuss her concerns directly with the offender Hokanson.

In another interview with police during the 1982 investigation, a priest assigned to the troop’s sponsor, St. Pius X, acknowledged that he had heard of “homosexual activities” of Hokanson, but neither he, nor anyone else at St. Pius, reported the allegations to law enforcement.

At the news conference, Doe 8, identified himself as Michael Keller and in a written statement released at the news conference, said: “Throughout the approximately six years of sexual abuse and manipulation by Hokanson, I reached out to numerous adults to question what was happening and, ultimately, to seek their help. No help came. The scouts permitted Hokanson to continuing abusing me and other young boys. As a child, I received no help and was on my own. The other scouts were too.”

In 1982, Hokanson disclosed to law enforcement officials that he had sexual contact with 2I children who were participating in scouting, was criminally charged for the abuse of just three scouts, and in 1982, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 42 months in state prison, stayed, on condition that he undergo treatment in the intensive sexual abuse program at St. Peter.

In October 2012, the Boy Scouts of America released approximately 1,200 “Perversion Files” documenting reports of sexual abuse by Scoutmasters and adult leaders from 1965-1985 including Hokanson and 22 other scout leaders from Minnesota.

It is estimated that Hokanson spent at least 22 years as a Boy Scout leader and held other positions in the Rochester area involving youth activities. It is believed that Hokanson currently resides in Faribault, Minnesota.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based, internationally known trial lawyer widely recognized as a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation. Anderson has represented thousands of survivors of sexual abuse by authority figures and clergy can be reached at:

Office/651.227.9990  Mobile/612.817.8665
  Copies of the complaints and John Doe 8’s written statements are available at: