Scoutmaster's slaying, sexual abuse claims roil New Jersey town
By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times
November 27, 2012, 6:44 p.m.
STILLWATER, N.J. — Dennis J. Pegg was happy to pay local boys a few bucks to mow the lawn at his house, which sat atop a hill overlooking the elementary school. He was eager to guide Boy Scouts as they mastered the skills of the great outdoors, and to assist hikers trekking the nearby Appalachian Trail.
Pegg appeared to have no enemies in his close-knit, lakeside town of leafy glens and rolling hills — until last June, when his throat was slit and he was repeatedly stabbed in a killing that has raised questions about whether Pegg exploited his position in the Scouts for years to molest young boys.
"This is a really, really ugly story. The blood of this man is on the hands of many people here," said Carol Fredericks, whose brother-in-law, Clark Fredericks, 46, confessed to the slaying. Pegg, who was 68, had been a local scoutmaster in the 1970s, when, Carol Fredericks said, Pegg sexually abused Clark and others.
Others have since echoed his claims, clouding the image of a man whose online obituary drew sentimental tributes from scores of people who knew Pegg as a bird-watcher; as a "trail angel" who gave food and water to hikers; as a former corrections officer with the Sussex County Sheriff's Office; as an Army veteran and firearms expert; and as a mentor to local youth.
I think investigations have barely started scratching the surface of the Boy Scout child sex scandal.
This is anecdotal, but when I was in college in NJ, I knew at least two men who told me, separately, that they were molested by scoutmasters as kids. There might have been a third, but my memory has gotten fuzzy over the past 40-plus years. No details. I started thinking there must be some real sickos in scouting.