Scoutmaster named in abuse files served at Athens church pastored by columnist Griffith

By JOHN A. WINTERS
john@newnan.com
More than 30 years ago, a fellow pastor approached Dr. James Griffith about a troubling subject — that a member of Griffith’s church in Athens might be molesting boys.
Griffith, who writes an editorial page column for The Newnan Times-Herald, took immediate steps. The member in question, Ernest Boland, resigned from his post.
The matter might have ended, but decades later Boland’s name is back in the news. His is among those listed in formerly confidential Boy Scouts of America files that were recently released under court order about decades of detailed accusations of child molestations by adults associated with the international organization.
Boland was a long-time Rotarian, a colonel in the Army Reserve, an Athens businessman, and a leader of three different Boy Scout troops over a 25-year period. He is now a man accused of molesting dozens of boys from the 1950s through the 1970s.
Boland’s name was eventually placed in the BSA’s “Confidential Files,” which included others accused of molestation. The reason for him being added to the list was “substantiated reports,” according to released BSA documents.
About 20 Georgians are on those lists, now commonly called the “Perversion Files.” No one from Coweta County is on the list.
At the time of the accusations, Boland was a scoutmaster in Athens. He is now 88, confined to a wheelchair.

When the allegations first came to Griffith, he was pastor at Beech Haven Baptist Church in Athens. Boland was in the process of setting up a new troop, Troop 3, which would be sponsored by Beech Haven where he was a longtime member.

“As you know, all this came about because the Supreme Court ordered the Boy Scouts to release the documents,” Griffith said earlier this week. “The only thing I can say is that as soon as it came to me attention, I turned it over to the church leaders.

“We had an attorney on our board and some others and I had them deal with it,” he added. “It was not my place as the pastor.”

Griffith said the board members approached Boland, who in turn resigned.

“He was very active in the church,” the former pastor said. “He had a wonderful wife and son. I feel for the family but even more for those little boys.”

Griffith is now retired, living in Palmetto Park.

“There were rumors, but we had no proof,” he said. “The main thing is we got it corrected so it never impacted our church.”

“It’s very unfortunate, nothing good about it,” Griffith said. “It’s just a sad, sad thing.”


More Local

10 Things to Know for Today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. ARRESTS, TEAR GAS MAR FERGUSON NI ... Read More


Dollar General enters bidding for Family Dollar

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — There's now a bidding war for Family Dollar, with Dollar General offering about $9.7 billion for the disc ... Read More


US jobless aid applications rise to 311,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — More people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, although jobless claims continue to be close to pre-r ... Read More


Locals recall, mourn actor Robin Williams

Millions have watched Robin Williams’ performances on both the large and small screen – and laughed at his antics as Mork or as ... Read More


Erasing the stigma of depression

Williams’ illness, suicide sparks national dialogue

In the aftermath of actor and comedian Robin Williams’ suicide, a national dialogue has been sparked about depression and the many mis ... Read More

Addiction in Coweta Community

Resources available for recovery

Editor’s note: This is the fourth and last installment in a Sunday series on the spread of drug addiction, including prescription pill ... Read More