New Report: Sexual Abuse in Police Explorer Programs

Anthony DeMarco, one of our attorneys who has over 20 years of experience with childhood sexual assault litigation, was interviewed for a new investigative report by the Marshall Project, which examines Police Explorer programs nationwide. The report, titled “In This Police Youth Program, a Trail of Sexual Abuse Across the U.S.,” confirms what we have known for years: many of these youth programs are rife with sexual abuse. From the report:

“[There are] at least 194 allegations that law enforcement personnel, mostly policemen, have groomed, sexually abused or engaged in inappropriate behavior with Explorers since 1974, an ongoing investigation by The Marshall Project has found.


‘The power imbalance between officers and Explorers can leave teenagers vulnerable,’ said Anthony DeMarco, a lawyer who has represented several former Explorers who accused officers of abuse.

‘One of the greatest injuries that the Explorers I’ve worked for have talked about is they dreamed of being in law enforcement,’ he said. ‘And because they were abused, and because in some ways it became known, it felt like it got ripped from them.’”

We have successfully litigated and continue to litigate numerous cases on behalf of survivors from Explorer programs in Southern California, including ongoing cases against the City of Irwindale and the City of Whittier. Given our experience, we believe the allegations uncovered by the Marshall Project represent just a fraction of those who have been abused. If you have information about abuse of minors in any Southern California Explorer program, please contact us.

For further reading, see:

  • Officer Charles “Chuck” Drylie perpetrator profile (City of Whittier Police Explorer Program)
  • Media coverage of a prior case settlement involving Explorers (City of Irwindale Police Explorer Program)