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Victim Of Alleged Scouts Canada Abuse Seeks Justice

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Another former Scouts Canada leader is facing charges after a Toronto man came forward alleging sexual abuse he says happened more than 37 years ago. (CP) | CP


Another former Scouts Canada leader is facing charges after a Toronto man came forward alleging sexual abuse he says happened more than 37 years ago.

Allan Howe, 51, says he was happy and excited when he joined the scouts at age 13.

"Everything was new and everything was great and again being with my pals always a good time," Howe recalled.

However, Howe said, he felt uneasy when he met scout leader Norman McLeod at a meeting in Etobicoke. "There was something about him that was just pervy, basically," Howe said.

Howe and other scouts spent the night with McLeod at a cabin in the Kawarthas. Howe alleges McLeod told him they would be warmer if they zipped their sleeping bags together.

Howe said he couldn't bear to tell anyone what had happened.

"You're just terrified in high school that what's gone on is going to come out," he said.

After years of counselling Howe thought he had left the past behind. However, he said, he felt he had to come forward after watching the CBC's Fifth Estate investigation on sexual-abuse allegations within Scouts Canada. The episode detailed allegations of abuse within the organization and how Scouts Canada allegedly failed to provide police with reports of the abuse.

After seeing a scene where the former CEO of Scouts Canada, Janet Yale, spoke with CBC's Diana Swain, Howe said, he was compelled to come forward.

"That was sadness up to that point, and then it just turns to major anger here," Howe said, while reviewing the scene from the program. "I need to see this person charged and convicted and just not allowed to harm anyone anymore."

McLeod, the former Scout leader and school teacher, was charged Friday with 11 counts of indecent assault on a male, eight counts of gross indecency, assault and two counts of failing to comply with recognizance.

The alleged assaults took place between 1965 and 1979. Toronto police said the alleged victims were between the ages of 11 and 15 at the time.

In February, police said they were investigating other allegations of sexual abuse by scout leaders. To date, several people have been charged. Police will not comment on the status of the investigation.

In December 2011, Scouts Canada issued a blanket apology to former scouts who were sexually abused by leaders.

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