Former Scout leader sentenced for raping boys

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Two adult men who were sexually assaulted by their Boy Scout leader in the early 1990s spoke of the damage David Kress had inflicted as he was sentenced Friday in New London Superior Court to 15 years in prison followed by 10 years of strict probation and registry as a sex offender

Kress, 56, former leader of Troop 66 in Thompson, will complete a five-year sentence he is serving for sexually assaulting boys in Massachusetts before serving the Connecticut sentence.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of employing minors in an obscene performance in the Connecticut case.

According to prosecutor Bonnie Bentley, in 1990 Kress began assaulting two 9-year-old boys, sometimes with both of them present, after providing them alcohol. The assaults took place at various locations, including the Woodstock Fairgrounds, the Boy Scout camp in Ashford, his home and his shop, Bentley said.

The molestations came to light decades later, after a third victim disclosed during marriage counseling that Kress had molested him between the ages of 11 and 15, starting in 1994. Though two other victims came forward and Kress admitted to a friend that he had sexually assaulted 12 children, statutes of limitations prevented the additional charges.

Two of the three victims attended court with family members and a victim advocate and waited several hours Friday to stand within feet of Kress in the well of Judge Hillary B. Strackbein's court and speak of the long-lasting impact of their abuse. 

Both of the men used the phrase "rot in hell" in their statements. The first speaker said the abuse has caused him to question every person he's encountered and that he feels guilty he didn't speak up sooner in order to prevent more boys from being abused.

"The very first time you made me your 'new friend' left me feeling overwhelmed, used, scared, shocked, physically and emotionally torn, and every assault thereafter just continued to worsen those feelings. Those feelings which started at age 11 have never left," he said in his statement.

The other man said to Kress, "You are the lowest of the low, and today you get what you deserve."

"We walk away from this courthouse survivors," he said. "We are no longer your victims."

Defense attorney Jerome Paun said the behavior Kress engaged in has been "extinguished" for several years and that Kress plans to continue sex offender treatment in prison.

Kress said he is "truly and deeply sorry" and that it would be selfish of him to ask for forgiveness.

Judge Strackbein told the victims it was brave to come to court, and that their ordeal has ended.

"These experiences were so awful, and you were such innocents," she said. "But I'd like this not to define the rest of your life, because that gives your abuser power."

The judge told Kress that he's left parents afraid to trust other adults with their children and that being a scout leader should be a noble endeavor. "This case not only affects you and your victims, but the whole Boy Scout world," she told him.

k.florin@theday.com

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