CRESCO, Iowa (TCD) — Officials arrested a 73-year-old former Boy Scouts leader accused of abusing multiple teenage troop members for more than a decade.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday, June 7, that Cresco Police Department officers and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agents arrested James Hughes on charges of sexual abuse in the third degree and six counts of lascivious conduct with a minor.
On March 18, 2021, a report was first filed with the Cresco Police Department alleging that Hughes had sexually abused a Boy Scout troop member “over the course of several years.”
Police worked with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and according to a criminal complaint, there were at least five victims. The allegations first began in 2008, and the latest incident reportedly happened in 2018. All victims were between the ages of 13 to 16 years old at the time of the alleged sexual abuse.
Hughes, who worked as a licensed physical therapist and Boy Scouts merit badge counselor, would reportedly “force, persuade, or coerce” his victims to “disrobe or partially disrobe” with or without consent and touch them inappropriately.
According to the complaint, Hughes would have his victims undress so he record their measurements for their physical fitness merit badge even though the measurements were not needed.
In one incident in 2008, he allegedly spoke to a victim about masturbation and would demonstrate on the teenage troop member.
In the latest incident, in the summer of 2018, Hughes allegedly sexually abused a victim while providing physical therapy sessions on him at Hughes’ private home.
According to the complaint, investigators also recovered images of young men and boys engaged in sexual activity with each other on Hughes’ phone.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety said Hughes was booked into the Howard County Jail on a $46,000 bond.
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