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Former Chillicothe scout leader under investigation posts on Facebook: ‘I am a child molester’

Multiple agencies are investigating accusations that William McKell molested several boys while he was a scout leader. He has not been charged.

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — William McKell, a former Boy Scout leader in Chillicothe and former chief executive officer of Horizon Telecom, posted to Facebook on Sunday, writing he abused teenage boys. Charges have not been filed against McKell.

McKell’s wife and his father both confirmed to 10TV that McKell wrote the post.

The Chillicothe Police Department confirms it is actively investigating McKell but declined to say anything else on the matter.

10TV has confirmed the U.S. Attorney's Office is reviewing a referral from Chillicothe police that includes at least 18 possible victims dating to the early 1980s. 

Some of the victims told police they were only 10 to 12 years old at the time of the alleged crimes, records show.

In the report, the men tell similar stories of being touched inappropriately by McKell, many times while at overnight camping excursions or out-of-state Boy Scout trips.

In the Facebook post, McKell, now 60 years old, started by writing, “My name is Bill McKell and I am a child molester.”

The post was removed later on Sunday. His wife told 10TV on Monday the post was removed because the comments became too much, with many commenters attacking each other and writing the family's address.

McKell went on to write in the post, "During my late teens, twenties and early thirties, I had inappropriate contact with a number of young men."

McKell has not been charged, but wrote in the post that he issued Sunday's statement after the police report was shared widely by people online.

Police said in the report that they also sent it to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Vinton County Prosecutor's Office and the Ross County Prosecutor's Office. All three offices confirmed receiving that report.

On Monday, Ross County Prosecutor Jeffrey Marks said he also had seen McKell's weekend Facebook post, which he described as being a "hollow" apology. He said using the post in court might not be entirely helpful, given that McKell did not admit to any specific crimes. Marks points out McKell also wrote that he would "vigorously defend" himself against any "false" charges, which opens the window for claiming innocence in future court proceedings.

McKell was the former leader of Boy Scout Troop 5005, also known as Troop 5. The Boy Scouts of America told 10TV McKell was added to the BSA volunteer screening database more than 25 years ago after allegations of inappropriate behavior and has been barred from participating in scouting ever since.

Last week, Horizon, a telecommunications company based out of Chillicothe, reported its board of directors terminated McKell's employment as the company's chief executive officer.

"Horizon takes these matters very seriously and took swift actions to address them," the company said in a statement. "We encourage anyone who believes they have information related to this matter to contact the Chillicothe Police Department."

10TV reached McKell’s father, Tom McKell on Sunday. He confirmed the validity of his son’s Facebook post, adding that the family was aware Bill McKell would be making that public statement.

“The family supports him completely in what he’s doing and will back him up as need be as days go on, no matter what happens,” Tom McKell said.

During the time of some of the alleged abuse, McKell worked at now-defunct Smith Middle School in the Chillicothe City School District. He submitted his letter of resignation in 1987. 10TV reviewed his personnel file but found no mention of child abuse allegations.

10TV reached out to McKell and his attorney for further comment on Sunday and Monday but has not heard back yet.

McKell's full statement from the since-deleted post is below:

Ohio Attorney General David Yost released this statement Monday:

"The allegations – and apparent confession – of sexual abuse surrounding a former Boy Scout leader in Chillicothe deserve swift, severe punishment.

Because of the statute of limitations, that may not happen under current law. That is precisely why I, along with several former attorneys general, have called for the statute of limitations for rape to be eliminated.  

Victims deserve the chance to face their abusers in the court of law.

 If you are a victim of this case, or know someone who is, please call the Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 855-BCI-OHIO or you may file a tip anonymously online"

Marks tells 10TV that the alleged crimes laid out in the CPD narrative would most likely fit the category of gross sexual imposition, which has a statute of limitations of 20 years in the state of Ohio. 

But federal laws are much different. And they may come into play here because McKell is accused of traveling with the scouts out of state, where some of the crimes are alleged to have happened.

Officials from the Dept. of Justice and the local U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed to 10TV that certain federal child exploitation crimes (18 U.S.C. 3283) have no statute of limitations.

Here is the full statement from the Boy Scouts of America.

"First and foremost, we care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children. We believe victims, we support them, and we encourage them to come forward.

 This individual was added to our Volunteer Screening Database over 25 years ago following allegations of inappropriate behavior. This bars him from participation in any Scouting activities, regardless of location.

 The Volunteer Screening Database – a tool the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for all youth-serving organizations – serves as one of BSA’s many strong barriers to abuse, which also include: a leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interactions alone with children – either in person, online, or via text; a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.

 The BSA offers to fund in-person counseling for abuse survivors and members of their families by a provider of their choice. The BSA also partnered with 1in6, a trusted national resource for male survivors, to meaningfully expand its online services so that more men who suffered abuse while in Scouting can anonymously access vital support from trained advocates when and how they need it. Survivors can access these independent services at www.1in6.org/BSA

 For more information about the BSA’s youth protection policies, our commitment to supporting victims, and our efforts to be part of the broader solution to child abuse, please visit: www.scouting.org/youth-safety. "

The full statement from Horizon can be read here and below:

"Last week we terminated the employment of former Chief Executive Officer Bill McKell and offered our cooperation to the authorities in their ongoing investigation. Horizon takes these matters very seriously and took swift actions to address them. We encourage anyone who believes they have information related to this matter to contact the Chillicothe Police Department. We remain focused on supporting our employees and taking great care of our customers."

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