Former solicitor accused of molesting boys
Two men described as Youth Male A and Youth Male B filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, Pee Dee Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Jay Hodge, Jr., First Presbyterian Church of Cheraw, and the Estate of William Hebard.
The accusers names aren't being released to protect their identities as alleged victims of sexual abuse.
The suit accuses Hodge and the late Hebard of molesting Youth Male A and B when they were minors between 1975 and 1980.
Hodge served as solicitor for the Fourth Circuit, which covers Chesterfield, Darlington, Marlboro and Dillon counties, for 12 years. He retired from office in 2008, but continues to practice law in Chesterfield County.
According to the lawsuit, Hodge and Hebard were Scout Leaders and engaged in various sexual acts with the boys, including fondling, masturbation and oral sex.
A report detailing psychological evaluation of the accusers attached to the lawsuit says the abuse happened a few times during camping trips to Huntington Beach State Park, Camp Bob Cooper in Santee, Hodge's home, and at First Presbyterian Church.
The report says the church pastor at the time removed Hebard as troop leader, but police were not called.
The lawsuit says Boy Scouts of America, Pee Dee Area Council Boy Scouts of America, and First Presbyterian Church all failed to report Hebard and Hodge to law enforcement and failed to exclude them from acting as Scout Leaders.
It says they continued to let Hodge and Hebard be involved in Boy Scout activities after learning of the alleged abuse.
"It's a lie
," Hodge said in response to the lawsuit. "
People who do know me, parents who have entrusted their children with me for 35 years will know that it's a lie. Many who don't know me, once the names of the 40 year old alleged victims are revealed will also realize it's lie and will see what their motive is."
Those closest to Hodge say these allegations are false and this attack against him is political. They believe he will be vindicated.
Youth Male A and B say they continue to suffer severe and debilitating physical, mental and emotional injury, including pain and suffering, physical and emotional trauma, and permanent psychological damage
The men say they will incur in the future, costs for counseling, psychiatric and psychological medical treatment all to their economic detriment.
They're asking for a jury trial.
MW Cockrell is representing the men. He released a statement to NewsChannel 15. "These two boys did not volunteer for the abuse they endured. Coming forward with the abuse is one of the most courageous things I have seen. These actions are heroic, nothing less.
Note the impact this abuse has caused, and then to declare it a lie and politically motivated, is as repulsive as Jerry Sandusky continuing on with his innocence.
All Defendants are entitled to their day in court and to retain counsel to speak on their behalf. Who will speak for the victims? Jason Turnblad and myself will be ready to speak for these and any other children preyed upon," said Cockrell.
The Boy Scouts of America
Director of PR Deron Smith
issued this statement to NewsChannel 15 regarding the allegations: "The Boy Scouts of America is saddened by any incident of abuse, and we extend our sympathies to all such victims. Youth protection has always been of paramount importance to the BSA and in the more than 30 years since these alleged incidents took place the BSA has continued to enhance its youth protection programs to ensure Scouting is as safe as possible for all of our members."
NewsChannel 15 has learned there is no criminal investigation against Hodge relating to the allegations in the lawsuit.
Hodge and his co-defendants have 30 days to respond to the allegations.
In 2009, Hodge was the subject of an FBI investigation during his involvement as the former director of Mercy Ministries in Chesterfield County. The FBI has never released the specifics of the investigation or said if it's over or ongoing.