Central Florida Boy Scouts executive accused of sexual battery of a child

The merit badge sash is worn by a Boy Scout during formal activities and events and not during Troop meetings or campouts. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

A high-ranking official with the Boy Scouts of America Central Florida Council is accused of the sexual battery of a child. 

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office Sex Crimes detectives secured an arrest warrant for John Bruce Larsen, who was taken into custody on Friday afternoon.

Larsen, 52, faces two counts of sexual battery on a victim less than 12 years of age; two counts of sexual battery on a child 12 years of age or older but younger than 18; and four counts of lewd molestation on a child under the age of 12.

"Because of the role he held in the community, detectives believe there could be more victims," said a spokesperson with the Sheriff's Office. 

According to an arrest report, three juveniles told detectives that they were touched inappropriately by Larsen.  

One victim informed his mother that, "Larsen has been touching him and performing sexual acts on him since he was approximately eight years old," the report states.  Another child stated that he had been touched "multiple times by Larsen while he was at Larsen's residence," according to the report.  A third child said he too has been a victim of inappropriate contact by Larsen since he was eight years old. 

"The actions alleged to have been committed by John Larsen are reprehensible and opposed to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) stands," read a statement sent to FOX 35 News by Eric Magendantz, CEO of the Central Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  "Upon learning of these allegations and his arrest, we took immediate action to prohibit him from participation in Scouting. We added Mr. Larsen to the BSA’s Volunteer Screening Database which prevents him from any future registration and participation in Scouting, including employment."

Magendantz explained that adult leaders and employees all undergo a screening process that includes criminal background checks.  In addition, he said there is mandatory youth protection training for all volunteers and employees; a leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities and bans any one-on-one situations where adults would have any interaction alone with children — either in person, online, or via phone or text.  

Lastly, Magendantz said there is a ban on the use of recording devices/cell phones near bathrooms and shower houses and that prompt reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse to law enforcement is mandatory.

The Central Florida Council serves Boy Scouts in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Brevard, Volusia, and Flagler counties.

Anyone who may have been a victim or has information about Larsen should reach out to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Sex Crimes Unit at 407-254-7000 Ext. 70641 or Ext. 70557.

Get the most up-to-date forecast, sign up for weather alerts, and view live interactive radar for Orlando and Central Florida.

Watch FOX 35 News for the latest launch updates.