A once-prominent Eastern Shore congressman who left office in 1980 amid allegations that he had solicited sex from a 16-year-old male prostitute was flagged the same year by the Boy Scouts of America in the organization's expansive "perversion files."
The file on former Rep. Robert E. "Bob" Bauman provides yet another glimpse into the way the organization compiled its confidential records, which were made public last week by court order. They outline decades of allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct by people affiliated with the Boy Scouts.
Bauman, now 75, denied any official connection to the organization when reached Monday at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Scouting officials in 1980 described a somewhat tangential connection with the legislator, but a file was created nonetheless.
Just days after the solicitation charge was filed against Bauman in the first week of October 1980, a Scouting executive with the Delmarva Council sent a letter and a packet of news clippings about the case to the organization's registration director, noting Bauman was on the council's "advisory board."
The letter noted Bauman had not renewed his registration with the Boy Scouts that year.
"He is not active and has no great interest in Scouting to my knowledge," wrote Ted Taylor, the Delmarva Council executive. "I will leave the matter of his future registration in your hands for appropriate action."
The organization's registration director, Paul Ernst, responded by asking Taylor to fill out a form on Bauman so the organization could "identify" him in the future.
"Also, any other information made available to you would be appreciated to support our action of placing this man on the Confidential File," Ernst wrote.
Bauman said Monday that he might have spoken as an elected official at a public ceremony honoring Eagle Scouts, or some similar event, but never had a close affiliation with the organization.
"If I ever was a member of an advisory board, it had to have been some honorary thing that they put me on," he said. "I have no memory of ever serving on this council."
Bauman said he was "astounded" that a file had been created on him by the Boy Scouts but didn't fault the organization for "being overly careful" following the media coverage of the 1980 incident.
Bauman, a rising star of the Republican Party at the time, was campaigning for a fourth full term in Maryland's 1st District when an FBI investigation into the alleged solicitation of the boy in a Washington gay bar led the U.S. attorney's office there to charge Bauman with a single count of sexual solicitation for prostitution.
Bauman pleaded not guilty but agreed to disclose the circumstances of the case as part of the requirements of a diversion program for first-time offenders, through which he also completed a six-month alcoholism counseling program.
The charges were dropped after Bauman completed the program, but his political career never rebounded, though he attempted to run for office again in 1982. His 21-year marriage was subsequently annulled, and Bauman came out as gay and became an advocate for gay rights.
He had originally admitted to being an alcoholic and having "homosexual tendencies."
Once seen as a national spokesman for conservative causes, Bauman wrote a book, "The Gentleman from Maryland: The Conscience of a Gay Conservative," in 1986. More recently, he wrote "Where to Stash Your Cash: Tax Havens of the World."
He is a father and grandfather.
Bauman said he resented having "dirty laundry" from decades ago brought up again because of the Boy Scouts' "mess."
"I really am sorry that my name even appears in there," he said of the organization's files.