Flash: Berkeley Sea Scout Skipper Charged with Child Abuse

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday December 04, 2007

Eugene Evans, the scoutmaster who sued the city after it refused a free berth to the Sea Scout ship Farallon because of the organization's anti-gay policies, was arrested Tuesday on six counts of child sexual abuse. 

Berkeley Police Youth Services Detail investigators served warrants at several locations, including Evans's home in Kensington, said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, the department spokesperson. 

Charges against the 64-year-old skipper of the S.S.S. Farallon include lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, oral copulation with a minor under age 16 and sexual penetration by an object of a youth under age 14.  

After booking at the Berkeley City Jail, he was taken to the county lockup at Santa Rita, where he was being held in lieu of $1 million bail. 

The alleged victims range in age between 13 and 17, and police said the crimes took place over a period of years, "but they have yet to determine definitively how long Evans may have been molesting youths," Kusmiss reported.  

The officer said more details would be revealed after his arraignment in Alameda County Superior Court Wednesday in Oakland. 

Police believe other youths may have been molested and are actively seeking to identify anyone who may been inappropriately approached by the scout leader. 

During many of the years he served as skipper of the scouting ship, Evans was also a teacher at Encinal and Alameda high schools in Alameda. 

According to an Aug. 10, 2006, profile by conservative columnist James J. Kirkpatrick, Evans joined the Berkeley Sea Scout troop in 1957 at age 13, and had served as the skipper of the Farallon for the previous 35 years.  

Evans became a hero of the political right when he filed a legal challenge of city policies that deny free city services to organizations which practice discrimination based on sexual preference. 

His legal challenge of the city policy was celebrated by uber-conservatives and hailed in hundreds of posts on the Freerepublic.com web site. 

The conservative Pacific Legal Foundation took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court after the California Supreme Court upheld the city's decision in March, 2006. 

The nation's highest court announced on Oct. 16, 2006, that it would not hear the appeal, leaving intact the state decision in the case of Evans v. Berkeley. 

The state court upheld the city's anti-discrimination policy, adopted in 1997, which barred free use of the Marina to any organization which discriminated on the basis of "a person's race, color, religion. . .age, sex, [or] sexual orientation."  

As part of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the Sea Scouts bar youths from membership who are openly gay, as well as agnostics and atheists. 

With the adoption of the anti-discrimination policy, the city ended a half-century policy of providing free berthing space to the scouts. 

In finding for the city, California's justices declared: "We agree with Berkeley and the Court of Appeal that a government entity may constitutionally require a recipient of funding or subsidy to provide written, unambiguous assurances of compliance with a generally applicable nondiscrimination policy.  

"We further agree Berkeley reasonably concluded the Sea Scouts did not and could not provide satisfactory assurances because of their required adherence to BSA's discriminatory policies." 

Berkeley Police are asking anyone with information to call the Youth Services Detail at 981-5715. Callers may remain anonymous.