New York Times, May 18, 1995
Bronx Scoutmaster Accused Of Paddling Boys in His Club
A former Riverdale Boy Scout leader who the police say initiated young men into his own private club by paddling them on the buttocks, sometimes photographing them afterward, has been charged with assault, prosecutors said yesterday.
David Weiser, 31, ran a club with at least 40 boys and young men, 13 to 20 years old, and as part of a bizarre induction process, he would hit them on the backside with a wooden paddle, sometimes so hard that swelling, sores and "extreme pain" resulted, a criminal complaint said.
The club was separate from Mr. Weiser's activities as assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 240 in teh Riverdale section of the Bronx, the authorities said, although Mr. Weiser encountered some of his victims through his position with the Scouts.
The beatings occurred over a period of five years, mostly at Mr. Weiser's home in New Rochelle, said Robert Johnson, the Bronx District Attorney. It came to light when one young man reported it to a counselor at at teh Riverdale Neighborhood House, a community services center, who then told the police after receiving the teenager's permission.
"Just in talking to one of the staff members, he started to give out information that was rather strange," said Nancy Nunez, director of the teen-age program at the Riverdale Neighborhood House.
Mr. Weiser, who operates a limousine service in New Rochelle, was arrested at this home on May 11 and released on his own recognizance the next day after agreeing to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Calls to Mr. Weiser's home, his business and a man the authorities identified as his attorney, David Klein, were not answered yesterday. A spokesman for the Boy Scouts of Maerica said the organization had never received any complaints about Mr. Weiser. The spokesman, Gary Laermer, said that Mr. Weiser's membership had been revoked on Monday after the organization was notified of the charges.
In a raid on Mr. Weiser's home, the police seized about 130 photographs, wooden paddles and records relating to his club, which he called the CB Mafia Club. Some of the photographs indicated injuries to the young men's buttocks, Mr. Johnson said.
Mr. Weiser has been charged with second-degree assault, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of seven years, and two misdemeanors, hazing and endangering the welfare of a child. Mr. Johnson said there could be additional charges.
At least eight young men who had contact with Mr. Weiser and his club also attended the Riverdale Neighborhood House. The organization's executive director, Carla Precht, described the youths as primarily young white men from middle-class homes in Westchester County and Riverdale.
The club had at least the semblance of a formal structure, with dues, bylaws and rules. Its main activity is unclear, although the District Attorney said that members apparently spent much time discussing how to recruit other members. "They appeared to be not the most social of youngsters," Mr. Johnson said. "They were somewhat lonely."
Boy Scout Troop 240, Mr. Weiser's troop, "has been seen as the creme de la creme in this community for years" because "it was one of the most effective and productive troops," Ms. Precht said.