Milw. pediatrician identified as sex offender in Boy Scout files

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says a prominent Milwaukee pediatrician who worked at Children's Hospital for over 35 years has been identified as a child sex offender in secret files maintained by the Boy Scouts of America. These allegations came to light following the publishing of an article in Sunday's Los Angeles Times newspaper.

The Los Angeles Times story detailed previously sealed files that it said showed Boy Scouts officials "failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public."

In the article, 1,600 "ineligible volunteer" files from 1970 to 1991 were reviewed by the paper after the paper obtained them through a 1992 lawsuit against the Boy Scouts. The "perversion files" were a blacklist of alleged sexual molesters, it said.

Although the Scouts learned of most of the abuse allegations after they were reported to authorities, the organization learned about more than 500 instances from boys, parents, staff members or anonymous tips, the paper said.

Milwaukee SNAP says Dr. Kowalski was a volunteer camp doctor for the Milwaukee County Council of Boy Scouts, identifies himself in his online professional profile as “semi-retired” but “looking for part-time or consulting work” with children and adolescents.

According to Kowalski’s Boy Scout file obtained by the Los Angeles Times, he admitted to Scout leaders that he masturbated while fondling two children at a Wisconsin summer camp in Forest County in 1987.

In a series of internal documents, the Milwaukee County Council Executive of the Boy Scouts, James L. Roberts, indicates that it was his intention to keep Kowalski’s child sex assaults “confidential” and hidden from public view and banned him from the organization.

According to the documents, the assaults were reported to the Forest County Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Social Services and to the District Attorney who declined to prosecute.

Scout records reveal that the D.A. formally notified the Board of Medical Examiners of Kowalski’s actions and agreed that if Kowalski completed psychological counseling and received appropriate peer review no charges would be filed.

Kowalski was removed from his position with the Boy Scouts after this incident, but he continued working with youth for at least 14 years after his admission to Scouting authorities. He left Children’s Hospital in 2002 to work at Marquette University’s Student Health Service and the Greenfield Health Department. Kowalski has also served as a foreign missionary since 1994 with the “Volunteer Missionary Movement” and has made multiple trips to Guatemala.

Milwaukee SNAP officials are asking the Milwaukee County D.A.'s Office for an investigation to determine how an admitted child sex offender who committed crimes in the course of his professional duties could continue to work with children for decades and to determine if additional crimes were committed.

"What happened? How did this happen? Is it happening now? This is a problem that exists not within society, but it exists within the system -- the power structures of society. This is all criminal evidence of child sex crimes, so no private organization should be sitting on files containing criminal evidence of children being sexually assaulted," Peter Isely, the Midwest Director of SNAP said.

SNAP is calling on the Boy Scouts of America to oust any official still with the organization who was involved in covering up child sex crimes.

FOX6 News went to Kowalski's Greendale home, but no one answered the door. Kowalski told the Los Angeles Times he received psychiatric counseling for years, and had never re-offended. In the article, Kowalski added "had that been publicized, I would have been out of business, reputation destroyed and I don't know how I would have faced people at church."