New Abuse Case Takes on Boy Scouts of America

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Catholic Church has been at the center of a sexual abuse scandal for weeks, but now a lawsuit in Oregon is turning the spotlight on Boy Scouts of America.

The youth organization is being sued by a 37-year-old man who says he was molested several times by his scoutmaster back in the 1980s. This is not the first lawsuit against Boy Scouts of America, but this case brings new evidence that the scouting organization knew about hundreds of molesters within its ranks and failed to take action.

Patrick Boyle is the author of "Scout's Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution." Matthew Stewart is a victim of abuse.

Guests:

Patrick Boyle and Matthew Stewart

Produced by:

Marine Olivesi

Comments [9]

Christina from Long Island

In the 80's very little screening was in place in many of the USA youth organizations and unknowingly admitted volunteers who may have had a history of abuse. It is only in the last decade that some national youth organizations have taken critical steps to change their screening policies and BSA is one of them. Yet some still refuse to and this puts all of our children in jeopardy. We do have at least one state-wide system (Mass.) for youth volunteers but a national system that screens volunteers like in Australia would be better. Nothing is perfect because some people join organizations to commit these acts against children and they become first-time offenders perhaps even one day after being screened.

Apr. 27 2010 04:52 PM
Marc from Indiana

I've been active in Scouting for over 45 years. It would be nieve of anyone to think that bad people aren't drawn to youth groups and movements. The Boy Scouts has a Great record for tracking and protecting our members with it's membership application steps. I think that maybe someone in the application process dropped the ball. The Scouting movement isn't perfect, but it's got the best record by far. Better than church youth groups, and private camps. These suits should be filed against the person who did this, not the movement. Where were the other leaders, parents, and chartered leadership? The system broke down at the unit level, not at an office in another state.

Apr. 13 2010 03:14 PM
MidwestScouter

As a Scouter, I always am relieved to hear that one of these creeps has been identified and removed from Scouting. My personal experience is that we have a great system for removing these people when they are identified. It is just very unfair to hold the national organization and volunteers like me responsible for the secret intimidation between an adult and a child when it is neither apparent nor reported. There is no indication that Scouting engages in the protection or "moving around" of these people, as has been alleged about the Catholic Church. And, the "code of silence" suggested by your guest is just not present in my experience. The ultimate solution to this problem is to shut down all youth programs that allow audlt-child and older teen-child interactions. So, we can do away with little league, theatre groups and religious teen organizations -- surely a crazy thing to comtemplate. The sad reality is that we will always have these creeps amid our organizations, and we need to identify and remove them for good as soon as they become apparent. Scouting is doing a great job of that now.

Apr. 07 2010 09:07 AM
Joyce from OR

I agree, Kathy. Scout leaders are representatives of the BSA, regardless of who chooses them. Like any other organization they have accountability for the actions of those who represent them. Sounds like it has been proven that they knew abuse was a prevalent issue. Prevalent enough to hide, evidentally.

Apr. 06 2010 12:36 PM
Matt

Keep in mind that the BSA doesn't CHOOSE the leaders. The chartered organization does. In this case the LDS church and surprise, they settled out of court.

Apr. 06 2010 01:03 AM
Kathie from CA

The BSA must be held responsible for the actions of their leaders, and more so their LACK of action to protect our children. Whatever steps they have taken are clearly not enough considering the thousands of "perversion files" they CHOSE to hide from parents.

Apr. 05 2010 11:57 PM
Brice

Possibly one of the worst bits of reporting I've ever listened to. As a scout leader, I've gone through background checks as well as intensive and repeated training. The BSA takes child abuse very seriously, there is never any excuse for one on one contact with a child within the BSA, nor is it allowed. That is why a single scout leader can't actually do anything. The BSA REQUIRES two leaders for ALL scout activities.

Apr. 05 2010 10:27 PM
Steve

Abuse happens everywhere. Parents abuse their own childrens. Do not attack BSA - it's a great program.

Apr. 05 2010 02:09 PM
oinonio from nyc

Venerable is a questionable adjective for an organization that refuses atheists and homosexuals and, surprise, surprise, is accused of child molestation.

The similarities to the church abuse scandal is of little surprise.

The Boyscouts should release their database.

Apr. 05 2010 09:39 AM

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