SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — A 76-year-old former volunteer Boy Scout chaplain was sentenced Thursday to serve 40 years in prison after pleading no contest to sexually assaulting six young men, including a developmentally disabled victim.
“Turning to God, I pray each day for God’s help to help heal those that I hurt so badly and to give them comfort for the shame that I have caused,” James Glawson, of Exeter, said in court, The Providence Journal reported.
Glawson was actually sentenced to 60 years in prison, with 40 to serve and the balance suspended with probation, according to the state attorney general’s office.
“Your honor, there is no excuse for all the pain, suffering and shame that I have caused to so many,” he said in court.
Glawson committed multiple acts of sexual assault against five victims beginning in the 1980s, when he served as a volunteer Catholic chaplain for the Boy Scouts, authorities said. His most recent victim in 2019 was developmentally disabled, prosecutors said.
Glawson pleaded no contest to 11 charges of first-degree sexual assault.
State police started investigating in January 2019 following reports from staff at a group home of inappropriate contact between Glawson and an 18-year-old resident. The resident told investigators he was assaulted by Glawson multiple times over several years, prosecutors said.
During the investigation, five more people came forward with allegations that dated to 1981.
“Every day, parents and guardians entrust the well-being of their children to others, to provide care and/or recreational opportunities,” Attorney General Peter Neronha said in a statement. “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.”