WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A 67-year-old Vermont man who is accused of committing child sex crimes in Wilmington in the 1980′s is now behind bars in the Port City. Wilmington police took out arrest warrants for Peter Drutchal after two victims came forward to say he’d molested them over a period of years while serving as their scout leader in an outdoor adventure program. He was arrested at his home in Vermont on November 22.
After Drutchal’s arrest, the Vermont State’s Attorney confirmed he would be extradited to Wilmington on Thursday. Drutchal was given an initial bond of $1 million and is expected to make his first court appearance on Friday.
WECT obtained the arrest warrants from Wilmington Police, which detail the crimes he is charged with.
Both victims were 11 when they say the abuse started, and it continued until they were 14. Wilmington police say Drutchal committed sex acts on the boys while leading camping trips with them.
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.
Drutchal eventually left the Wilmington area and moved north. He started another youth program in Vermont called Adventure Quest. According to court records and published reports, Drutchal sexually abused two of his students there in the 1990s, and later did prison time for it. The Rutland Herald reports a jury there found Drutchal liable for millions of dollars in damages.
After our initial story about Drutchal’s November arrest, a man in Massachusetts contacted WECT to say he also had been abused by Drutchal as a child in upstate New York. His letter to us read in part:
“[Drutchal] was released from prison before his 20 year sentence, and the state of Vermont was to supervise him in their Bennington program through February of 2021, at which point he would ‘max out’ his sentence, and be free from supervision by the state of Vermont. Thus, the timing of this arrest could not be more opportune to ensure that this lifelong predator remains not only under criminal supervision but under arrest and incarceration. If my counting is accurate, Peter Drutchal has been abusing young boys for nearly all of his adult life, while not imprisoned or supervised as a registered sex offender.”