Local victim of Boy Scouts sex abuse insists more needs to be done to protect kids

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- A Boy Scouts sex abuse survivor is speaking out and sharing his new efforts to raise awareness and fight back, as the youth organization faces an uncertain future.

“There are people succumbing to suicide because of this stuff, and that shouldn’t happen,” John Hobbs said.

The Boy Scouts of America has been seeing membership drop, and multiple reports indicate the organization could be on the brink of bankruptcy.

BSA just announced it will increase membership costs, and all of it comes amid relentless allegations of sexual abuse and changes that will soon open the flood gates to even more lawsuits.

The Boy Scouts are often tied to their famed three-finger pledge to honor God and country, help others and build self-character.

“I started at a young age. I was in an organization called Indian Guides when I was real young then heard about Scouts,” John Hobbs said.

Hobbs loved the adventure of it all. But as a teen, a new troop leader would change everything. His name: Dr. Joseph Mackey.

John Hobbs, right, as a boy with Joseph Mackey

“As a young adolescent kid, it was great to have a lot of attention. It felt that way," Hobbs said. "Obviously, little did I know how crazy that was going to become."

He said almost from the start, he was clearly Mackey's favorite. Even fellow Scouts could see that.

“He just, just really singled John out in terms of being a special person, and a lot of kids were jealous of that, envious of that,” said Dylan Allen, former Scout and Hobbs' longtime friend.

Allen said, for him, that was a red flag. His gut said Mackey was grooming Hobbs.

“It was a very predatory feeling as a child, and so I knew that was happening, and it's actually why I left Scouts,” Allen said.

But Hobbs said back then, he didn't recognize how Mackey's actions were setting the stage for a decade of sexual abuse.

“I was like so conditioned, frankly, to be like this is a normal guy, to be supportive,” Hobbs said.

Mackey was in his medical residency when he first volunteered with the Boy Scouts.

Joseph Mackey

When Hobbs was 14, Mackey told him he needed help with a medical experiment.

“You know, you have to do this to help me graduate and took me over to KU and was kind of a purported exam and said it was being live streamed into a bunch of people and all sorts of stuff,” Hobbs said.

But court records lay out what actually happened. Hobbs was on an exam table, his upper body covered and his lower half was exposed. Mackey repeatedly touched and talked about Hobbs' genitals.

“After that, I assumed that was just something -- it was done. It was over. It continued to escalate and pick up… sorry, you know, from thereafter in other instances in his medical office and in his residences,” Hobbs said.

Mackey was also Hobbs' doctor, prescribing him several kinds of psychotropic drugs. The abuse continued hundreds of times into Hobbs' adulthood. In many of the encounters, Hobbs was given pills and alcohol, then forced to perform sex acts.

“Everyone trusted this guy," Hobbs said. "I think that’s the thing that’s just so sad about it. This was probably as calculated of a child abuse situation that you could ever think of."

It wasn't until he was in college when Hobbs started realizing how wrong the relationship with Mackey was. And as he married his wife, Hobbs made a huge decision.

“I didn’t want to violate that trust with her,” he said.

John Hobbs and his wife

Hobbs broke down, finally opening up about the horrific abuse.

“I think that, literally, it saved my life because it was getting to a point where I couldn’t handle that internally anymore,” Hobbs said.

He eventually filed a report with Blue Springs Police. He also went to the Missouri Board of Healing Arts.

After years of investigations and proceedings, Mackey ultimately surrendered his medical license, and the state charged him with sodomy.

In 2018, Mackey pleaded guilty, but spent just four months time in jail. He remains on probation and is a registered sex offender.

Hobbs also won an undisclosed lawsuit settlement, which he said he's yet to receive.

“I just knew this was the right thing to do, and it was important to help protect the next kid to not have to go through this,” he said.

But his fight is far from over. Hobbs said he continues to get threats from people tied to the Scouts and Mackey.

“It’s still going on today," he said. "It’s just, the mental anguish, the intimidation and the passive aggressive behaviors and, you know, just the lies and the untruths and people like not looking at it without thinking of this place I’ve been in for a long time."

John Hobbs

When his childhood friend Dylan Allen heard about what Hobbs' has gone through, he knew the story needed a bigger platform.

Allen's now making a documentary called “Scout's Honor.”

“I don't want to just label the Scouts as just one giant pedophile ring," Allen said. "What I'm trying to do with this movie is explain the psychological components that enable the grooming and the abuse, and that happens in every child organization. It's not just Scouts. It's all of them."

This year, the Scouts announced an investigator it hired uncovered more than 12,000 victims of sexual abuse and more than 7,800 perpetrators.

Many, including Hobbs and Allen, are convinced the number is much higher because a lot of young men still haven't recognized or disclosed their assaults.

They also firmly believe the Scouts haven't done nearly enough to protect kids, investigate abuse and help survivors.

“One of the biggest reasons I’ve spoken out more publicly is because you know there are people succumbing to suicide because of this stuff, and that shouldn't happen at any age," Hobbs said.

"And you know I think we`re in a society now where it just is so easy for people to be intimidated or bullied in these things, and you can see how people get to that point."

Dylan Allen

He and Allen are hoping "Scout's Honor" might give others the courage to come forward, and that youth groups everywhere will do more to stop abuse before it happens.

“This affects people’s lives in just a huge way, and until we do something that’s formal about it, it’s not going to change," Hobbs said. "And there’s so much money in this organization, that they’re not going to do anything until they’re forced."

Mackey has not responded to FOX4's multiple attempts to contact him.

The Boy Scouts of America shared the following statement:

"We sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. The safety and protection of children is our most important priority. The BSA has taken significant steps over many years to ensure we aggressively address youth safety.

"Today, the BSA has multi-layered safeguarding policies that are among the strongest in any youth-serving organization, including mandatory training for all volunteers, background checks, banned one-on-one interactions, mandatory reporting to law enforcement and a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline to access counseling and help needed to report any inappropriate behavior.

"Child abuse in any form is unacceptable and we are committed to providing ongoing support to victims and their families, including counseling."

The documentary "Scout's Honor" continues fundraising and production, with plans of debuting the project at film festivals early next year.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of sexual abuse, you're encouraged to report it to police.

You can also get free help through the National Sex Assault Hotline 24/7 by calling 800-656-HOPE (4673) or online.rainn.org.

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