Boy Scout leader sang naked in front of kids, and organization failed to investigate: Lawsuit

A Boy Scout leader who was accused of singing naked in front of several young boys was not investigated by his troop despite multiple complaints, according to NBC News

Michael Kelsey, who in 2016 was found guilty of first-degree sexual abuse for molesting two children in his Boy Scout troop, was accused of misconduct long before his conviction, according to a $320 million civil lawsuit filed in March 2017. 

The ongoing lawsuit — which has emerged with new information thanks to interviews with the plaintiffs by NBC News— details a number of troubling accusations against Kelsey, who was an assistant scoutmaster in Troop 95 of Fishkill, NY

The naked singing incident is among those accusations. According to an affidavit signed by one of the plaintiffs — a mother of a boy in the troop, who has remained anonymous — Kelsey sang the song "Hakuna Matata" in April 2012 in a locker room after a "night swim."

Kelsey performed the song "with his hips gyrating and penis swinging about," the mother said.

"All of this occurred not only in front of my son, but also in front of the other boys present at the time," she stated in the affidavit.

The mother said her son told her about the incident, after which she complained to the troop's den mother, who said the troop would investigate. However, she later got a call from the troop leader, Richard Robbins, who said her son was misreporting the evening's events.

"He basically told me that he talked to the other boys and they didn't see or hear anything,” the mother told NBC News this month. "He said maybe my son misunderstood what he saw. I said, 'My son misunderstood a naked man singing 'Hakuna Matata'?"

Her complaints were ultimately disregarded, but similar accusations soon followed. In 2014, two 15-year-old boys accused Kelsey of molesting them during a summer camping trip. He was found guilty in 2016 and sentenced to seven years in prison.

In the aftermath of Kelsey's sentencing — and the hundreds of abuse accusations involving Boy Scout leaders that have surfaced in recent years — parents of the children involved in the 2012 singing incident feel that their concerns were intentionally ignored.

"It’s my position that they are protecting their own," the mother of the other boy involved in the lawsuit told NBC News. "It was all hush-hush."

However, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) says it did investigate the "Hakuna Matata" accusations and found that Kelsey wasn't involved.

"The incident involved a youth who engaged in inappropriate behavior, not directed at any other youth, during a Scout activity," a statement from the BSA said. "The youth’s behavior was immediately addressed by the unit leadership at the time of the incident."

The parents of the children involved refute that version of the story.

"That has been their position since this broke," one of the boys' fathers told NBC News. "They have never produced any evidence of an investigation other than reporting that [the worried mom’s] son was wrong."

Kelsey, who was involved with the Boy Scouts for nearly 20 years as both a member and later a troop leader, has maintained his innocence and even attempted to appeal his sentence. A July attempt to get his conviction overturned was denied by the court.