BENNINGTON, Vt. (WECT) - Police in Bennington, Vermont arrested 67-year-old Peter Drutchal Sunday night on warrants out of Wilmington, NC. Wilmington Police took out the warrants against Drutchal after two victims came forward alleging Drutchal had molested them in the 1970s and 1980s when he lived in the Wilmington area.
The victims, who requested that we not publish their names at this time, told WECT they first met Drutchal when he worked for the Boy Scouts’ High Adventure program. The program utilizes outdoor recreation facilities to teach youth about canoeing, wilderness backpacking, and sailing. At some point, the victims say Drutchal split off from the Boy Scouts and started his own outdoor recreation program.
The Wilmington victims were around 11 years old when the sexual abuse started, and say it continued for years. They said they would go camping, canoeing, hiking, and on other overnight and day trips where they were alone with Drutchal when the crimes happened.
After leaving Wilmington decades ago, Drutchal moved north and founded Adventure Quest in Vermont in 1989, as an outdoor summertime leadership camp for youth. According to court records and published reports, Drutchal sexually abused two of his students there and later did prison time for it. He is now a registered sex offender.
According to the Rutland Herald, a jury there found Drutchal liable for millions of dollars in damages, after one of the boys he abused, Nathan LaBrecque, committed suicide.
The Herald detailed the crimes in a story about a lawsuit filed by another victim, Scott Mann. The paper said Drutchal “seduced victims with outdoor equipment and sponsorships, and threatened to take those things away and sabotage their futures in the sport if they rejected his sexual advances... He also made sleeping arrangements on kayaking trips that facilitated the abuse.”
Drutchal had completed his prison sentence for the crimes in Vermont and was living at home when he was arrested from the crimes out of Wilmington over the weekend. He made his first appearance in court on Monday.