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ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Nude photos and oral sex are just some of the improprieties a former Boy Scout said happened between the years of 1999 and 2001 by a Troop 16 Assistant Boy Scoutmaster in Fort Smith, according to a federal court document filed Monday, August 31, 2020.

The 18-page document from the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas states the plaintiff, who is now an adult and lives in Colorado, “continues to suffer debilitating and severe physical, mental and emotional injury, — including pain and suffering — as well as permanent psychological damage.”

The Westark Area Council Incorporated of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is a registered nonprofit in the state Arkansas located in Fort Smith.

The abuse cited in the lawsuit happened when the plaintiff, Clifton Colwell, was between the ages of 15 to 16 years old. The document states the defendant’s role as a Scout Leader was to “educate and mentor.” Instead, the defendant, convicted felon, Francis McCort who is an inmate at Varner, took the time to gain the plaintiff’s trust, conduct is known as “grooming,” and ultimately sexually abusing the Boy Scout.

Francis Joseph McCourt, 72. Inmate at Varner Unit, in Lincoln County, AR. In 2013, originally sentenced to 35 years for distributing, possessing and viewing child pornography — and about 4 dozen guns in his home. A judgement from North Dakota convicted him of felony stolen property.

The attorneys say the lawsuit meets the statute of limitations for filing. They are requesting a jury trial and seeking punitive damages and other fees. There are eight counts:

  • Sexual Battery of a Child
  • Tort of Outrage
  • Negligent Hiring, Training Supervision/Retention
  • Negligence– Special Relationship
  • Negligence – Failure to Warn
  • Fraud & Constructive Fraud (2x)
  • Malice and/or Reckless Disregard – Punitive Damages

The lawsuit claims the abuse happened at different locations: Erbie Campground and Cavers Camp near Harrison, Arkansas; Fitton Cave on the Buffalo National River; Camp Orr near Jasper, Arkansas, and Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.


As early as 1920, the BSA received information from local Councils about Scouts being sexually abused from adult Scouting volunteers and professionals. The BSA created a file system called “Red Flag” files, today known as “Ineligible Volunteer” files (IV files) or “Volunteer Screening” files. This was/is a way to track alleged abuse by adult Scouts. The IV files were categorized according to the type of offenses committed. The IV files still exist, but “underrepresents” the actual alleged sexual abuse cases. One reason is that the BSA destroyed many of the IV files created before Plaintiff was abused, and many children did not report the abuse.

Green & Gillispie Attorneys at Law


A database has been compiled between 1947 and 2005 of 5,000 men, some women, who were expelled from the BSA on suspicion of sexual abuse. This was last updated in 2013. Used with permission, per Los Angeles Times Investigative Reporter Kim Christensen.

  • Troop 16/14. Hot Springs, Arkansas. Sam C. Otts. 1977
  • Troop 108. Blytheville, Arkansas. Eugene Huntzicker. 1981
  • Troop 35. Benton, Arkansas. Wright Clifford W. 1987
  • Troop 604. Little Rock, Arkansas. Waverly T. Calamia. 1988
  • Troop 975. Camden, Arkansas. Leonard R. Massey. 1989
  • Pack 36. Bentonville, Arkansas. Joseph A. Agarand. 1990
  • Troop 7. Little Rock, Arkansas. Richard Dale Bryant. 1991
  • Troop 103. Crossett, Arkansas. (2369). 1991
  • Pack 346. Mayflower, Arkansas. (2203). 1991
  • Explorer 160. Lonoke, Arkansas. (4123). 1993
  • Troop 13. Helena, Arkansas. (2870). 1993
  • Troop 144. Hartford, Arkansas. (3141). 1994
  • Troop 777. Rogers Arkansas. (3130). 1995
  • Pack 45. Van Buren, Arkansas. (3142). 1995
  • Troop 99. Paragould, Arkansas. (2871). 1998
  • Troop 300. Crossett, Arkansas. (5029). 2002
  • Troop 67. Monticello, Arkansas. (4910). 2002
  • Troop 67. Monticello, Arkansas (4787). 2002
  • Pack 427. North Little Rock, Arkansas. (3986). 2002
  • Troop 41. Sitka, Arkansas. (3812). 2002
  • Troop 67. Monticello, Arkansas (5027). 2003

In Arkansas, there are 21 BSA organizations listed in the “Perversion Files” database. Of the 21, 14 do not have names attached. This is something that bothers attorney Josh Gillispie, who is representing Colwell. “I often hear the Boy Scouts of America say, ‘we’re on the side of the victim,'” said Gillispie, “if that’s the case then I challenge them to release the names of the additional 14 [alleged] offenders … who are these guys?”

Gillispie said the request to find out who these unnamed people are is to prevent child sexual abuse, something BSA needs to do.