Ex-Scout leader, roommate plead not guilty to child sex abuse

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Phoenix police say most of the incidents of abuse occurred at the home of ex-Scout leader William Challberg. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Phoenix police say most of the incidents of abuse occurred at the home of ex-Scout leader William Challberg. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

Two Phoenix men accused of sexually abusing young boys dating back 30 years pleaded not guilty to numerous charges of crimes against children on Monday.

Former Boy Scout leader William "Bill" Challberg, 65, and his roommate, Julian Mendoza, 51, entered their pleas in Maricopa County Superior Court. Their next scheduled court appearances are Aug. 13.

Police said Challberg and Mendoza are accused of sexually abusing several boys during a 20-year period from 1983 to 2003. They were arrested June 12.

Police said the five victims, who are now in their 20s to 40s, were between the ages of 9 and 16 when the alleged assaults occurred.

One of the victims was a Boy Scout at the time.

The Youth Protection Adviser at the Boy Scouts of America contacted police in October 2013 after reviewing the records of volunteers who had been removed from their positions.

They came across Challberg's file and saw that a Scout had accused him of sexual abuse in 1986.

The Phoenix Police Department's Family Investigations Bureau Crimes Against Children has been investigating since last fall and said they've identified at least five separate victims who were all interviewed.

Detectives said all victims recounted sexual abuse, sexual assault, drugs, pornography and sexual exploitation.

They believe the crimes happened at several locations, but most occurred at Challberg's house in Phoenix.

One victim told investigators Challberg abused him on a city bus that Challberg operated as a bus driver for Veolia Transportation.

Both suspects are being booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail.

Challberg faces 23 charges and Mendoza faces 15 charges related to sexual crimes against children.

Phoenix police are asking anyone with information to call them at 602-262-4543 or Silent Witness at 1-800-948-6377.

The Boy Scouts of America released the following statement Thursday night:

"These allegations from nearly 30 years ago run counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. Following a report of abuse, in 1986, the BSA removed this individual from Scouting and placed him on the BSA's Ineligible Volunteer File list."

"Beginning In 2011, in connection with the BSA mandatory reporting policy, the BSA undertook a review of its Ineligible Volunteer Files which dated back to the 1960s. This individual's file did not clearly indicate that the matter had been reported to law enforcement at the time of his removal from Scouting in 1986, so the BSA reported it to the authorities last year."

"Today, the BSA policies require that any suspicion of abuse be reported immediately to local authorities. The BSA seeks to prevent child abuse through a comprehensive program of education, chartered organization leader selection process, criminal background and other checks, and policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse."

"For additional information about the BSA's youth protection policies, please visit: http://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/key-topics/youth-protection."

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