October 19th, 2010
02:23 PM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Rich Iott

The Republican seeking Ohio's 9th Congressional District will get support from House Minority Leader John Boehner even though he once re-enacted World War II battles in a Nazi uniform. Rich Iott told The Atlantic this weekend that it's been three years since he was a member of a re-enactment group called The Wikings.  His involvement dates back to 2003, the magazine reported.

The Wikings re-enact the battles of Germany's 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking. That division fought along Europe's Eastern Front, chiefly against the Russians, during the war. The Wikings is a part of the WWII Historical Re-Enactment Society.

Boehner's PAC, Freedom Project, donated $5,000 to Iott's campaign in September, before photos of Iott in a Waffen-SS uniform appeared on the Internet. A spokesman told Politico Boehner does not fear any retribution. The Atlantic article shows a photo of Iott and others in German uniforms. In video accompanying the story, men are seen role-playing and firing weapons that shoot blanks.

Iott said the Wikings is made up of military buffs who do not subscribe to Nazism itself. "[Germany] took over most of Europe and Russia," Iott said, "and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that's incredible."

Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., author of “Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-45,” says the group has misinterpreted history. "They have a sanitized, romanticized view of what occurred," he said. "If you were to put on an SS uniform in Germany today, you'd be arrested."

Jon Langbert

The father of a 9-year-old Cub Scout has been told he may not wear his Scout leader's uniform because he is gay. Jon Langbert of Dallas told news affiliate WFAA reporters yesterday that BSA officials reprimanded him. Those same officials said Langbert couldn't be removed from his leadership title because he'd never registered as leader in the first place.

The U.S. Supreme Court 10 years ago struck down a lower court ruling against the Boy Scouts. The high court ruled that, as a private organization, the BSA could have guidelines forbidding leaders who are either gay or atheist.

"We do have a policy that avowed gays and atheists are not allowed to be a registered leader or member of Boy Scouts of America," said Pat Currie, Scout Executive with the Circle Ten Council.

Langbert's sexuality became an issue after several fathers complained, WFAA reported. He said it saddened him that his son will see him stripped of his leadership role.

"It's 2010," he added. "We have a black president; an Indian-American governor in Louisiana; and a lesbian mayor in Houston. This policy is out of touch, and it's time for a change."

Amanda Bonella

The former runaway lured into prostitution at age 15 told “Larry King Live” on Monday that she is committed to helping other teen girls avoid her fate.

Amanda Bonella ran away from her abusive foster father's home only to spend eight years in the sex trade. After she accepted help from a man and woman who'd met her in a bar doorway, the couple told her that she would need to sell herself to pay her rent, she said.

Correspondent Dan Rather appeared with Bonella. He recently investigated the U.S. teen sex trade on his HDNet program "Dan Rather Reports." The girl next door is as much a target, not just runaways, Rather said. Young girls are often targeted when they become involved with small organized gangs.

"They get her involved with this young man," he said. "She moves out, [and] she moves in with him. The next thing you know, he's getting her to sleep with his friend."

Bonella said her clients were the unexpected: "It's the lawyers, the doctors, social workers, the colleges, police, priests. It's not the people that you think it is."

She sought her own escape after a three-day trick that nearly killed her, Bonella said. She found group of former prostitutes who supported her and provided her with therapy. "If there wasn't that organization that had survivors working there, I don't think I ever would have gotten out," she said.

Filed under: Most Intriguing People
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Scouted

    I was a scout for years in the 60's and did a lot of stuff on national level. Over the years there were definitely leaders that had an attraction to younger scouts. I think most of them could be categorized as pedophiles, not gay. However, there were leaders that were gay and would try to use their leadership role to hit on younger guys. Many of this kids were far to young to understand what was going on and fell into uncomfortable situations. Many of these leaders were reported to the BSA and were banned from the organization. To my observation, ever since that period the BSA has been very tough with those who are openly are gay. I'm not passing judgement here, but I think that's why the BSA has a knee jerk reaction to the issue, you know "guilty by association." If that were the case it would be wrong.

    October 19, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFairweather

      I went through the scouting program from the early sixties to the late seventies and worked on the council level with close to 100 units that ranged in size up to 99 kids in a single unit and never was there any such behavior among the leaders. I have no idea where your experience took place, but there was no such thing where I grew up.
      This pedophile thing has been blown beyond all recognition and it has (quite unfairly) taken a terrible toll. Because of such rumor mongering, several hundred thousand kids have been deprived of the amazing benefits of Scouting. It changed my live forever.
      A side note – my Scout troop is celebrating 50 years this weekend and my Explorer Post is celebrating its 58th anniversary. My fellow Scouts from these two units still stay in touch. By coincidence, there is a Scout alumni campout and celebration this weekend and a Post reunion banquet the same weekend. The Scouting program changed all our lives and we are much richer for the experience.

      October 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scouted

      JFairweather. I'm glad you had a great experience in the scouting program. I spent 16 years in scouting (MN), went to national and world jamborees and have great memories of all those years and like you worked at the camps as a counselor. I wouldn't trade those experiences or friendships for anything. Unfortunately though I had first hand experience of the few "rotten apples" that have, over the years, put an unfair and unwarranted shadow over scouting.I wish it could say that it was based on rumor mongering, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. It is a great pity that there a those who use an organization, such as scouting, for their own perverted gain and in the process spoil it for the others.

      October 19, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    The father of the Boy Scout should be ashamed of himself. Now because of his selfishness, some kid is going to grow up hating the Boy Scouts and there is no way the kid grasps the issue at hand or has had time to form his own unbiased opinion. Maybe we should all walk into private clubs and organzations and demand them to change their policies for each of our own selfish reasons and if they dont go on the news. HOW PATHETIC

    October 19, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • HeyZeus

      And what isn't to hate? a Puritan paramilitary organization ramming fanciful tales of the father, son, and holy spirit down the throats of impressionable young people? What should be shameful is how the Religious right will rip out all the pages in the bible that do not support their ultra conservative views and then claim it is 'Gawd's Law' from the little that is left.

      Love thy Fellow Man? not if you 're a Christian.

      October 19, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. abby26

    The BSA allows pedophiles as leaders, but disallows gays and atheists?

    October 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RV1982

    So now it is poliitically incorrect to reenact history (I suppose that goes for Confederate reenactors as well). Perhaps in a few years it will even be taboo to say the word Nazi. I thought the idea of reenactment was to encourage people to watch reenactments to enlighten themselves about the history of a war. Is a professional actor that portrays a Nazi given a pass just because he is paid to do so?

    October 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • HAZ

      So when will it be okay to reenact 9/11 by dressing up as a terrorist, or a member of the Taliban? I suspect those whose loved ones were killed that day, and plenty of others, will have a problem with such a "reenactment" for many years to come. My father survived 3 years in Auschwitz and lost 80 relatives at the hands of the Nazis. Mr. Lott has every right to dress as a Nazi for "fun", but I have the right to criticize someone who is running for Congress for doing so.

      October 19, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Marianne

    I respected the BSA and thought Langbert must be crazy. I found this from the newspaper that initially reported the issue and they link to a story written by a columnist about Langbert and his triplets in 2006. It made me teary. Shame on the boy scouts. http://www.parkcitiespeople.com/2010/10/15/university-park-father-gets-booted-as-popcorn-sales-volunteer/

    October 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      The father of the Boy Scout should be ashamed of himself. Now because of his selfishness, some kid is going to grow up hating the Boy Scouts and there is no way the kid grasps the issue at hand or has had time to form his own unbiased opinion. Maybe we should all walk into private clubs and organzations and demand them to change their policies for each of our own selfish reasons and if they dont go on the news. HOW PATHETIC

      October 19, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Edwin

    I think the opposite the kid should be proud that his father is standing up for him, this is a lesson that I think you should learn for YOUR own children. Stand up and fight for whats right. As for the pathetic part, I have followed up on this ordeal and he has a point they are a PRIVATE organization on PUBLIC ground. Let them go to a PRIVATE facility like a church or in your case a Clan meeting you bigot.

    October 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jack

    Yeah, we can't allow gays in the Boy Scouts. Straight guys already have molesting little boys in the bag.

    October 19, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
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