Content warning: This posts discusses sexual assault/predatory behavior towards minors and contains images/video of Scott Backer
Former Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer was arrested today in West Hartford for soliciting sexual conduct with a minor over Yik Yak. The Hartford Courant reported the arrest and Fox61 confirmed that the Scott Backer arrested was indeed the same Scott Backer that was fired from Wesleyan after the university learned from the Boston Globe that he had previously been fired from Vermont Academy for sexual misconduct.
Backer was arrested after an investigation determined that he responded to an anonymous offer on Yik Yak from what he thought was a 15-year-old girl, but was instead another man posing as a 15-year-old. They arranged on the app to meet up at a supermarket in Cromwell, CT sometime in January.
The man who sent the false offer is not a law enforcement official, according to the Hartford Courant. When Backer arrived at the supermarket on January 12, the man videotaped the encounter and questioned Backer as to why he was trying to have sex with a minor.
The incident was reported to police in February. However, there is no information yet on the identity of the man who put the initial offer on Yik Yak, nor is there any on why the police arrested Backer several months after the incident was initially reported.
Scott Backer, while at Wesleyan, was in charge of overseeing sexual misconduct hearings. After Dean Whaley informed the Wesleyan community of the reasons for Scott Backer’s firing in October, many students and alumni expressed deep frustration for the administration’s lack of transparency in his firing. They were wondering why the Boston Globe article was the first they had heard of the real reasons for Backer’s firing, when Wesleyan had known about this for months and had yet to tell students.
A student from the Survivor Support Network, who has chosen to remain anonymous, believes that the news of Backer’s arrest puts the university’s actions last semester into new light:
Scott Backer’s recent arrest confirms that his abuses at Vermont Academy weren’t just a one-time event. However, we shouldn’t need any further confirmation of his predatory habits to justify treating him like the abuser he is. Scott Backer received no punishment for his actions in the past, so he never received any punishment or rehabilitation that could have prevented him from continuing to be a sexual predator. He was allowed to be quietly shuffled (promoted!) from one elite institution to another because no one cared about protecting the girls and young women under his power. And when his story finally came to light, Scott Backer was allowed to leave Wesleyan without anyone in the administration thinking it was necessary to alert students to his history of sexual predation. This is why it is so important to listen to survivors. The Wesleyan administration has proven that it does not care about the safety of people on this campus, especially survivors. Even when they do things “right” by going through the Title IX reporting process, survivors cannot count on the Wesleyan administration to protect them, or even maintain the least bit of accountability and alert survivors that the school fucked up by hiring a serial sexual predator to hold one-on-one meetings with vulnerable students and oversee the Title IX adjudication process. We are disappointed, we are angry, and we demand better of Wesleyan’s administration.
[Updated, Tuesday, 5/15 at 12:27PM]
Content warning: This update includes a link to the video of the encounter with Backer.
As reported by the Argus, the video that led to Backer’s eventual arrest was filmed by a man associated with a group called PopSquad. According to their website, they are a “movement that protects our innocent children from internet predators. We aim to not only expose these repeat offending & unknown individuals , but also attempt to ‘get into the their mind’ and find some type of answers for there actions & compulsions.”
The video of Backer was published to YouTube earlier today (CW). The identity of the man who is filming is still yet unknown and likely to remain that way, as those associated with PopSquad prefer to remain anonymous, according to reports.
Editor’s note: The comments section of this post will remain enabled, but the Wesleying comments policy stands. Comments with direct personal attacks and/or naming students directly involved in these cases whose identities are not already public record will be promptly removed and the user banned. If you have any further comments or concerns, please email editors[at]wesleying.org