A Boy Scout meeting at an elementary school in Bloomington, Ill., came to an unexpected end for one adult volunteer: Police arrested the uniformed assistant scoutmaster, acting on a tip about a convicted sex offender in a school zone.
Brian Liska was surprised by his arrest in October 2011 -- just as he'd been surprised months earlier when he learned that the Boy Scouts of America's national office had approved him as a volunteer in the first place.
“It kind of puzzled me,” Liska, 38, said in a recent phone interview.
He'd applied for the post because his adolescent son was a Scout. He told Scripps he'd advised the troop's scoutmaster of his criminal history: Back in 1997, at age 22, he was convicted of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl and sentenced to 120 days in jail. Liska and the girl “actually considered themselves boyfriend/girlfriend,” the investigating officer had said in court proceedings.
To this day, Liska said he doesn't know if national Scouting officials approved his application because they were unaware of his past conviction -- or if they knew about it but decided he was fit nonetheless.
“What type of criteria are they really looking for in their leaders?” Liska wondered. “Maybe they need to ... do a little bit more investigating down on their applications.”