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An outdoorsman, Dalton arrived in Yellowstone National Park and became a ranger late in 1966. Like his father (and namesake), Dalton's job required his family to move from place to place, and the couple were transferred to parks in Wyoming, Arizona, California, Maryland and New Mexico before he left the service and moved to northern Arizona by 1978 to become a police officer, according to records.
By that time, Dalton and his wife had a 10-year-old daughter and joined the Mormon Church. Despite the intent to move for a fresh start and an end to his abuse, Dalton didn't stop molesting children.
"Probably every year or so," says Dalton about how often it would happen after he headed West. "I was oftentimes nailed by depression, and I'd go about a year and then maybe molest one or two, and then another year and another couple."
Dalton was no longer in Scouts or teaching, but he targeted neighbors' kids, friends' kids from church and others as victims. It was the same "grooming" process he used in Hiram and Burton: Gain their trust and get them alone.
Dalton's Boy Scout folder shows he rejoined the scouts in 1983 at the insistence of his Church of Latter Day Saints bishop in Woodruff, Utah. This wasn't supposed to happen—the whole point of keeping these "perversion files" was to keep these men away should they try to rejoin the organization later. Correspondence shows Scout executives knowingly approved the registration of a documented molester.
What the documentation didn't show, however, was that Dalton had become a scoutmaster of Troop 366 in Fredonia, Arizona, by 1978. Dalton said there was no indication that anybody in the Scouts or the Mormon bishop who called on him for the position knew about his past in Ohio, nor was there any problem with registration like there was supposed to be. Dalton didn't tell anybody either.
"There were some (molestation) incidents in northern Arizona," he says, "then I moved to Utah." He moved to Utah for a better opportunity for his family, not because of "incidents" in Arizona, he said.
Between 1979 and 1982, he had two more daughters and a son with his wife. Dalton moved his family to Woodruff, a tiny town in northern Utah with a population of 200. He got a job teaching elementary school in nearby Randolph, teaching for the first time since Burton. In 1983, the Woodruff bishop heard Dalton had been a Scoutmaster in Arizona and called on him to lead the local troop there. Dalton says he decided to be honest about his past "challenges" with the bishop.
"I sat him down and said, 'Look, you need to know some things about me,'" he says about the meeting, which apparently didn't deter the bishop from tapping Dalton to lead the local kids. "We had a long talk and we set up a number of safeguards. This was long before the Scouts went to the two-adult policy, well we set up a two-adult policy there."
Dalton joined Troop #24 in Woodruff, Utah, in October of 1983. This time, the national office did notice, like they should have in Arizona. A copy of the application was kept in his file with a typed note approving his registration and putting him on "probation" for two years: "Per Mr. E," it notes, which likely refers to Paul Ernst, a central figure in the national lawsuits because he oversaw the confidential files between 1971 to 1993 as the national director of registration.
Again, Dalton said nobody from the Scouts brought up his past to him. He didn't know he was on probation and didn't about know a file noting his abuse existed.
After one year of "probation," Ernst wrote regional Scout executive Paul M. Tikalsky Sr., of the Jim Bridger Council, and asked for a letter "regarding this individual's character and leadership performance."
Tikalsky responded to Ernst by saying the LDS bishop called on Dalton to lead the troop "without our knowledge" the previous spring, but he's been doing a good job: "Dalton's performance as a Scoutmaster has been good—he and his troop attended 1984 Summer Camp without incident and he is strengthening the troop in Woodruff, Utah. He seems to be very conscientious about Scouting..."
Tikalsky's letter is the first directly acknowledging Dalton's molesting ways as a Scoutmaster in Hiram since the 1966 correspondence from between Ohio and national officials.
"Lee Dalton is a school teacher in Woodruff, Utah, and apparently his performance has been satisfactory," he wrote, concluding that, "At this time, I believe the Ohio incident is behind him. However, we will continue to monitor his participation in Scouting."
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