01/18/2007

Sex, Lies and White Supremacy

The radical right has long been plagued by sexual scandal. Recent months are no exception. 

By Mark Potok

It's the dirty little secret of the white supremacist movement in America. Klan leaders with black girlfriends. A neo-Nazi caught with a black transvestite. A macho skinhead arrested while soliciting sex from Latino men. National Socialists affiliated with Satanists who promote sexual ceremonies involving children.

And now, the arrest of Kevin Alfred Strom, a key "intellectual" of the radical right, for possession of child pornography.

But that's not all.

Just days after the Jan. 4 arrest of the leader of the neo-Nazi National Vanguard group, news emerged that two weeks earlier another National Vanguard member had been arrested for another sexual crime. Police in Brookline, Mass., jailed Matthew Downing, a prominent, 25-year-old activist and organizer with the Boston unit of the organization, on a felony charge of statutory rape.

Officials say that an acquaintance of Downing's, 17-year-old Jeremy Perea, got two teenage girls to come to Downing's Brookline home six days before Christmas. Once they were there, Perea allegedly told them he would not drive them home unless one had intercourse with Downing. They refused, but one of them, a 14-year-old, agreed to perform oral sex on the Aryan activist.

If that wasn't enough for embarrassed movement stalwarts, police in Sharpsburg, Md., on Jan. 10 arrested recent Klan boss Gordon Creal Young, 40, and charged him with seven criminal counts for allegedly forcing an underage girl to perform oral sex on him on two occasions in late October. Young, who was then still the imperial wizard of the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, also allegedly told the girl on another day that Klan members always strip females who want to join in order to search their bodies for imperfections. The girl later told a pastor that Young then touched her inappropriately.

Last November, just days after his alleged sexual encounters with the child in his home, Young announced he was shutting down the World Knights in order to become state leader of the National Socialist Movement (NSM). After Young's arrest in January, NSM leader Jeff Schoep E-mailed a local Herald-Mail newspaper reporter to say that Young "is not currently active with the National Socialist Movement," but refusing to discuss the matter further.