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Scoutmaster charged with holding boys in bondage

Wednesday, June 14, 2000

By Ernie Hoffman, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

An assistant scoutmaster was charged with placing three young boys in bondage and cutting large "Ts" on their chests with a folding knife while they were tied to trees during an overnight camping trip.

John T. Levendosky II of Derry Borough was arrested yesterday after state police from Greensburg raided his home about 3 a.m.

Police said a search of the home produced a knife matching a description given by the boys, rope, elastic bandages, a paddle and pornography dealing with bondage and other sexual deviations.

Police also found a three-page letter, which they say Levendosky confessed to writing, in which Levendosky wrote a detailed account before the trip of what he planned to do to the boys.

Police said Levendosky, 52, confessed to the assaults and told them he did it because he was fascinated by bondage and that it made him sexually aroused. When police asked Levendosky whether he thought he might be caught, he responded: "I hoped I wouldn't."

Levendosky faces three counts each of child endangerment, corruption of minors, unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment, simple assault and harassment.

The boys -- ages 11, 12 and 13 -- are from the Derry Township area and members of Levendosky's troop, police said. Two of them were examined at Latrobe Area Hospital.

Police said there was no evidence that the boys had been sexually assaulted or that the camp-out was an authorized Boy Scout activity.

The mother of one of the boys said yesterday that he was embarrassed about the incident, but wasn't hurt. "I didn't know much about the man, which makes me feel worse about this," she said.

Levendosky was immediately suspended as a scoutmaster by the Westmoreland/ Fayette Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Greensburg. Jack Waite, assistant scout executive, refused to identify the troop involved.

"The Westmoreland/Fayette Council intends to cooperate with the police. Our priority is to protect the young people involved in the scouting program," the council said in a statement.

The incident violated scout policy of having two leaders present for all activities, scouting officials said.

Police said the assaults took place on private property off Route 259 in Fairfield on Friday and into Saturday. They said that Levendosky told the boys the weekend camp-out was a reward for their good attitude.

Police said Levendosky made the boys take off various pieces of clothing, then had them assume various poses while they were totally naked, all the while telling them their experiences had to be kept secret.

After breaking for a pizza dinner, the group returned to the campsite and Levendosky tied the boys' hands in front of them for awhile before he tied their hands to trees, police said. He then cut a "T" into the chest of each youth, from nipple to nipple and down to the navel, prompting one of the boys to exclaim, "I can't take this anymore," police said.

Levendosky also blindfolded the boys with what might have been an Ace bandage and he had them play strip poker, paddle each other and sleep naked, police said.

After camping, the boys told police that Levendosky took them to his house where he showed them the movie "Porky's," an adolescent sex comedy about summer camp.

Police became aware of the incident when one of the boys' parents noticed the "T" scratched on his chest on Monday.

When they searched Levendosky's home, police said they found a note that included the phrase: "I mark you with the T of trust and training."

Levendosky was arraigned before Youngwood District Justice James Falcon. He is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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