Friday, May 14, 2010

Boy Scouts Cover Up Abuse Too

The last time I wrote anything about the Boy Scouts was back in 2006 when I had a bit regarding their religious discrimination which continued in the face of getting large amounts of government funds.

It's not a group I've ever cared much for (they don't even sell cookies!) but it's such a small fry that I haven't paid it much attention. But another recent development shows just how much of a horrible group this organization can be.

Just like the Catholic Church the Boy Scouts have been covering up abuse cases. Apparently they have been keeping files on instances of abuse, but have been loath to let anyone see those files. They claim its for privacy reasons, to protect the victims and wrongly accused adults, yet the files have even been hidden from juries until just now.

Now there is a lawsuit to seek damages and have these files exposed and the volume is impressive. In this case, "about 1,000 files, from the years 1965 to 1984, were included as evidence." Note that this is just saying that's what was included as evidence. It doesn't make any claim that this was a complete collection!

What's worse is that, "the files detailed many instances across the country in which troop leaders or volunteers were allowed to continue working with children even after the Scouts had received complaints that they had committed sexual abuse."

In the past few months, there's been growing unrest with the Catholic Church and its sex scandals. I'm glad to see that at least in this case, American courts are taking action. The same thing needs to happen with the Vatican: Those in charge of hiding these abusers need to be held accountable.


Wayne said...

I think in this case you are letting your personal dislike for the Scouts color your thinking. They are not a law enforcement agency, the files were for internal use and alone do not constitute criminal evidence. The individuals who have knowledge of an incident (and presumably who told the Scouts) certainly should inform law enforcement as well, but the BSA turning over second-hand accounts is no more than hearsay and would likely lead to witch hunts. Of course, if you're of the "guilty until proven innocent" mindset regarding child abuse, then by all means proceed, but as a fellow educator I would guess you are quite aware of the danger of such an attitude.
I am also biased regarding the Scouts. I participated in my local council from the time I was old enough to join through college (as camp staff). I am the same age as the victim in the referenced case, and I certainly did notice a change in policies and practices from being a youth Scout to an adult leader. By the early 90's the rules attempting to prevent abuse were very strict and rigorously enforced. It's hard to imagine a group being more conscious of potential abuse at that time.

Chet Twarog said...

Gotcha, Wayne!!
I was active duty in the US Air Force stationed in West Germany. My son was in Cub Scouts. Since I had a B.S. degree in Earth Sciences, I wanted to be a merit badge counselor for "rocks and minerals". However, since I was an Atheist and put that on the application (honest and truthful), it was rejected because I was an Atheist. A ltr was sent to HQ Boy Scouts USA. I rcv'd a ltr from them that I was not to be ever considered nor should I ever apply as a merit badge counselor--I was an Atheist!
I did not consider challenging "religion"! I just wanted to teach minerals and Earth Science for their merit badge requirements!
However, we kept our son in Cub Scouts till we were reassigned.

Wayne said...

Sorry, Chet, but I don't see how your story is relevant to the topic of this post or my response. Are you saying "Gotcha" because you've discovered I'm not an Atheist? Well, congratulations I guess, but that isn't what we're talking about here.

Regarding your digression, one of the things the Scouts tries to do is instill a moral code to boys. You may disagree with that code, but it does include reverence to God. I'm not sure that excluding Atheists is necessarily a good idea, but they have the right to set standards for their counselors.

Chet Twarog said...

Well, Wayne, thanks for responding.
The "gotcha" referred to the fact the Boy Scouts are intolerant, prejudiced, and if they discriminate against the non-religious and gays, well, they shouldn't be sponsored by the federal government, nor the public schools, nor the military.
Anyways, "reverence" to what god? If you read the Holy Bible, the "Lord God of Israel" is a horrible, unethical, intolerant, genocidal murderer, rapist, destroyer, liar, incompetent, total jerk, deceiver.....
Yes, as an Atheist (no gods exist) I have read the Holy Bible. The New Testament is "fiction" and not even "historical fiction". There was no "Jesus" in Ancient Israel--there were many men named Jehu which is "Jesus" in Greek. "Christ" and Christianity was created and founded by Saul (St Paul).