They were called "furry parties," according to police, gatherings where adult men would dress up as animals and occasionally fulfill sexual fantasies.
But on several occasions, according to court documents released Sunday, the strange fetish turned sinister when a Bucks County man allegedly took off his fox costume and raped a boy who was brought to the party and dressed as a tiger.
"This is a horrendous case," Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference announcing charges against Kenneth Fenske, 57, a Quakertown resident whose "furry name" was allegedly "Lupine."
What's more, Shapiro said that Fenske was part of a network of men who participated in the repeated abuse of the victim, now 14. Four others accused of belonging to the perverse group have been charged across Pennsylvania and in Virginia, Shapiro said, and prosecutors fear that there may be additional victims. The known victim is related to one of the men charged, officials said.
"This child victim was repeatedly abused over a seven- or eight-year period by a group of criminals who cared only about their gratification," Shapiro said. "They cared nothing about this young boy."
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said: "You think you've heard it all on this job, and you never have."
The boy has been safe since last summer when the first man in the alleged network, Jeffery Harvey, of Luzerne County, was arrested and led investigators to David R. Parker, of Monroe County, another alleged participant in the abuse, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Shapiro said Sunday that the boy was now in foster care and receiving therapy.
It was the boy's tip earlier this month, the affidavit says, that led investigators to Fenske. The charging papers gave this account:
The boy told an agent with the AG's Office that Parker in 2009 took him a few times to Fenske's house, in the 2700 block of North Old Bethlehem Pike. The boy said he played an Xbox game at the house, and that at times, Fenske would dress up in a furry red fox costume with "full long sleeves and pants, a zipper in the back, paw gloves, and a fox head with pointy ears."
The boy said he was the only child present at the parties, and that he would "hang out dressed as Tony the Tiger."
On three or four occasions, according to the affidavit, Fenske took the boy upstairs, where they both undressed and Fenske raped him. The boy said Parker would walk upstairs after the abuse and talk with Fenske, and the boy said he told Parker about it. The rapes stopped for a month or two at one point, but they happened again, the boy told the agent. The exact timeline of events was not clear.
After revealing those details to the agent, the affidavit says, the boy identified Fenske in a photo lineup and identified his house in a photo. The boy's grandmother, with whom he lived in Hellertown from 2005 to 2009, also corroborated the story, the affidavit says, although it did not say whether she knew about the sexual abuse.
The others charged in the case include Harvey, 40, of Luzerne County, and Parker, 38, of Monroe County, each of whom was also charged with abusing the boy.
Prosecutors arrested Harvey on June 28, after an agent lured him to what he thought was a meeting with a 13-year-old for sex. Harvey then told agents about Parker, who was arrested the next day, the affidavit says.
Two other alleged members of the criminal ring, Craig Knox and Stephen Taylor, were arrested in the fall in Virginia, prosecutors said. Knox is accused in court papers of abusing the boy in 2009 or 2010 at Parker's encouragement. The court papers also say that Knox - who had a rottweiler costume and nine rottweiler dogs at his Henrico, Va., home - admitted having a years-long sexual attraction to young boys and dogs.
Taylor has been charged with beastiality-related crimes, prosecutors said, though additional details were not immediately available in court papers.
A spokesman for Shapiro said that Parker, Harvey, and Knox are in custody in "various prison facilities" in Pennsylvania. Fenske posted bail and was released late Friday. The fifth defendant, Taylor, is also out on bail awaiting trial.
Shapiro said prosecutors suspect there could be additional victims in this case, and he encouraged anyone with information to call 1-800-385-1044 or submit a tip online at www.attorneygeneral.gov.