Former Boy Scout leader sentenced to 60 years in ACI

James Glawson


EXETER–The two-year -long case against a former local Boy Scout Chaplin came to an end last week in a Washington County Courtroom. 

James Glawson, 76, of 101 Widow Sweets Rd, Exeter was sentenced last week after pleading nolo contendere to 11 counts of first-degree sexual assault.

According to the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office the Rhode Island State Police first began its investigation of Glawson in January 2019 after they received reports from staff at a Rhode Island group home of inappropriate contact between Glawson and an developmentally disabled 18-year-old resident at the group home. The resident later told investigators that he was victimized by Glawson.

After questioning Glawson he admitted to State Police Investigators that he had sexually assaulted the victim. Glawson also admitted that he had victimized several other young men while he was a scout leader with the Boy Scouts during the 1980s.

As the investigation continued , five victims came forward and pressed charges against Glawson. It was also revealed that Glawson’s illegal conduct occurred as far back as 1981, and as recently as 2019.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha, a father of two, said in a press release following the sentencing that when those entrusted with the safety of children break that trust consequences will be severe. 

“Every day, parents and guardians entrust the well-being of their children to others, to provide care and/or recreational opportunities. When a person abuses that trust, and sexually assaults a child whose safety has been entrusted to them, we know the consequences – they are severe and long-lasting” said Neronha. “The defendant’s criminal conduct here, over a long period of time and involving multiple sexual assaults against multiple victims, warrants the long sentence imposed by the court. I am thankful for the courage of the victims in coming forward and commend the outstanding work of the Rhode Island State Police in this case.”

As a result of the plea agreement Superior Court Justice Melanie Wilk Thunberg sentenced Glawson to 60 years at the ACI with 40 years to serve. The other 20 years are to be served as probation. Glawson must also register as a sex offender, complete sex offender counseling, and is subject to community supervision. The court also issued a no contact order between Glawson and his victims.

According to Neronha if a plea deal wasn’t accepted and they were to go to trial they would’ve secured convictions for the charges. 

 “Had the case proceeded to trial, the state was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Glawson committed multiple acts of sexual assault against multiple victims beginning in the 1980s when he served as a scout leader in the Boy Scouts,” a press release from Neronha’s office stated. “His most recent victim in 2019 was a developmentally disabled man who was known to him.”

Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety said that justice was served in this case. 

“The tragic facts of this case will forever impact the victims and their families,” said Manni. “I commend the partnership between the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General and our detectives who worked tirelessly to ensure justice was served.”

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