February 24, 1989, Friday, North Sports Final Edition
ARTHUR TAGGART IS NOT ON THE AMERICAN SUNBATHING ASSOCIATIONS (NOW AANR) CAUTION LIST.
Summer Camp Leader Guilty Of Sexually Abusing 2 Boys
Du Page County prosecutors may seek up to 60 years' imprisonment for the leader of a now-closed Kentucky summer camp for boys who was convicted Thursday of sexually abusing two of the boys in Addison.
Arthur Taggart, 59, of Scottsville, Ky., expressed no emotion Thursday when the jury returned a guilty verdict on all five aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges against him. His reaction was in stark contrast to the bizarre three-week trial in the Wheaton courtroom of Judge John Bowman, in which Taggart started to serve as his own attorney.
"This man was such a menace that I'm so relieved the trial is over," said Leann Schied, the Du Page County assistant state's attorney who prosecuted the case with Joseph Birkett. "The maximum sentence he could receive is 60 years in prison, and we haven't firmly decided what we will ask for, but probably the maximum."
Bowman set April 7 for sentencing, after which Taggart will be sent to Kentucky, where he awaits trial on 35 more charges relating to sexual activities at Camp Running Deer, his summer camp that advocated nudism.
Several members of the boys' families cried after the guilty verdict was read. Both boys testified at Taggart's trial and are expected to go to Kentucky for that trial.
"This case was won because of the courage of the two boys who testified and because the Elmhurst police wouldn't give up when they believed there was something wrong going on," Schied said.
Taggart's defense was that he was on a camping trip in Indiana on the dates the boys said they were abused. He contended the nudity at his camp, which operated from 1956 until it went out of business after he was charged in 1987, was part of a heritage of Indian lore and outdoor life that he was teaching the boys to appreciate.
BACK TO NUDIST/NATURIST HALL OF SHAME