MONROE, N.C. -- Former Scoutmaster Thomas J. Menghi Jr. says he was usually drunk when he molested numerous Boy Scouts during the early 1970s.

He was in his late 20s, living in a Fayetteville motel and working as a Tupperware deliveryman. He invited boys from Troop 786 as young as 11 to ride with him along his route, requesting that they spend the night in his room so they could get an early start.

"Yes, I abused kids," Menghi, now 69, said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. "But just how many and other details I can't remember. It was a long time ago and I was in a fog."

Menghi's file is just one among 14,500 pages of "perversion files" compiled by the Boy Scouts of America between 1959 to 1985 and made public last week by court order.

His file details the way local Scout officials investigated the allegations and removed him from the organization, but failed to report crimes to law enforcement. In Menghi's case, even some parents were not told that their children could have been victims.

The AP tracked down the former Scoutmaster in Monroe, a bedroom community near Charlotte where he lives on a quiet street around the corner from an elementary school. Had he ever been convicted and placed on the state's sex offender registry, a 2006 law would bar him from living within 1,000 feet of a school or day care.

"What I did was wrong," Menghi said, sitting in a rocking chair on his front porch. "I'm not making any excuses. But I was a heavy drinker and did pot every once in a while."

His file shows local Scout officials were contacted in early 1974 by the father of two brothers, ages 11 and 12. They had been overheard by an older sister talking about what happened in Menghi's motel room.

After interviewing the parents and some of the Scouts, Kia Kim District Scout Executive George F. Hardwick Sr. drafted a memo stating that he believed there was evidence Menghi had abused as many as 10 boys. He and other officials met with Menghi the next day to confront him with the abuse claims and barred him from Scouting.

"The biggest thing was to get the guy out of Scouting and away from our boys," said George Heib, 86, a retired U.S. Army officer who was at the meeting. "Putting the boys through all the trauma of having to go to court and trial and all the stuff like that, I didn't think it was worth it. Of course, the publicity wouldn't be good for Scouting, either."

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