HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) - The victim of former Homewood Boy Scout leader Don Corley, whose alert to his mom helped stop decades of sexual abuse of dozens of victims, is speaking publicly for the first time.
"He was very calculated, he took his time, he was very methodical," Brandon Baginski said, describing what he calls a "grooming process" Corley used for his victims.
"I think he saw enough signs with me that he thought I might be a potential target," Baginski said. "It started very innocuous, normal things. Things that didn't seem out of place at all."
Brandon says he met Corley through Corley's son, Brandon's best friend when he was 12. Over time, Brandon says Corley played a father figure role, eventually taking him on trips and to see movies, where he says what started as trips to see Disney movies eventually become movies rated "R" with nudity.
"The process he was taking me through was wanting more sexual or more adult themes to come up so that I would have questions," Baginski said.
Brandon says Corley started showing him Kama Sutra books, but always with an innocent explanation.
"He was asking did I know what this is, did I understand what was going on in this picture. He did all of this under the guise of sexual education, he was teaching us how to be a man, from a sexual standpoint," Baginski explained.
Corley admitted this in an exclusive interview with former WBRC FOX6 News anchor Scott Richards from behind bars.
"I didn't think I was taking advantage," Corley said. "This is sex education. Much better I give you sex education than you find out on the street."
Brandon says this all started to make him uncomfortable and it went over the line one night in Corley's living room when the two were alone watching a movie and Corley asked Brandon to lay down on the floor.
"He would rub my head, put his hands on my face very lightly, then move to my shoulders, take my shirt off," Baginski remembered. "What he was telling me he was showing me was "you see how the hair on your body stands up or these goosebumps? This is an affectionate touch. This is what it's gonna feel like when you're in a relationship and someone touches you, your body's gonna have these reactions."
Brandon didn't tell anyone at first, but his mom could see something was wrong and confronted her son a couple of weeks later.
"She could tell by my body language and noticing this pattern that something was wrong. And she just flat out asked me, 'Is everything ok with you two?' And my only response, and I remember saying it and how I felt afterward, I said 'I hate when he touches me,'" he recalled.
Brandon's mom went to police, who began to find more and more victims -- a list that Corley's victims now believe includes more than 40 people.
For Brandon, he had to cut off contact with his best friend during the investigation.
"That is something that was difficult for me from that point forward because we actually attended the same school for seven more years. And I knew every time I saw him and he went home, his dad wasn't there and that had something to do with me," Baginski explained.
But he told his mom he was glad he spoke up.
"Even at 13, I made this statement to her: 'Maybe this was my purpose.' I told her I said, 'I'm actually thankful I was put in his path to stop him,'" Baginski said.
Baginski is part of a victim's group called 30 is 30, formed to advocate for Corley to serve his full sentence. Corley will be up for parole on March 15 and his victims are asking anyone who feels motivated by their story to write a letter to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, and have it in the mail by Saturday, March 4.
Here's their mailing address:
The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles
PO Box 302405
Montgomery, Al 36130-2405
And here's the victim's advocacy site: http://30is30.com/
Thursday on WBRC FOX6 News at 6, we're talking to another of Corley's victims who now has a son of his own about how he's protecting his children, and the advice he would give any parent on making sure your child is well-protected.