Last November, the Seattle Weekly published an in-depth cover story -- "The Boy Scouts Police Problem" -- about cops molesting dozens of teenage police cadets who had enrolled in the Explorer Program, which is run by the Boy Scouts of America's subsidary Learning for Life. In recent decades, our writer learned, more than 100 police have had sex with Explorers they were entrusted with mentoring.
The Explorer program was created in 1991 and its programs, which extend far beyond law enforcement, provide more than 110,000 young people each year the chance to see firsthand workplaces in fields ranging from aviation to architecture to the law. The organization's mission is to "enable young people to become responsible individuals by teaching positive character traits, career development, leadership, and life skills so they can make moral choices and achieve their full potential."
The exact number of exploited Explorers is not known. For a list of known cases, see click here for an interactive map.
And now, still another known case has surfaced. Just last week, a Killeen, Texas, cop was charged with sexual assault after he allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old female Explorer.
Kirt Yarbrough Sr. was placed on administrative leave on January 4 and arrested on January 12 after an investigation by the Bell County District Attorney's office. Yarbrough, a 16-year veteran, posted his $100,000 bond the day of his arrest. The continuing investigation could result in the filing of additional charges, Killeen cops said in a press release.
KCEN TV reportered that an affidavit says Yarbrough took the girl, who was then 16, to a Temple (Texas) hotel where he performed a sexual act on her. Investigators checked with that hotel and found that Yarbrough did check in on December 19th.
The investigating officer also found pictures of the two kissing on the girl's cell phone and instant messages on her computer that indicate a sexual relationship.
People in the community say they're shocked and disappointed.
"I was appalled. I mean you know you expect better from police officers or any citizen, any person that's in a civic or government duty, like myself," Tane Cotton told the TV station.
"They're gonna be looked at differently now. They're not going to be perceived as being the good guys when it comes time for somebody to call them," adds mother of three Cassandra Hartsell.
The girl was a member of the Killeen Police Explorer program. KPD has suspended that program to conduct an administrative review.