Scouting for Boys

As if the whole “we hate gays” atmosphere weren’t enough reason to avoid the Boy Scouts of America, there’s a whole ‘nother reason to stay away — a significant number of adult volunteers and employees of the BSA have been accused of using their position to molest boys and the organization has, in many cases, failed to report such allegations to authorities.  Even worse, in more than 100 cases, the group worked to cover up the accusations.  This really gives new meaning to the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared.”

The Boy Scouts have long been discriminatory towards those who don’t fit their picture of the ideal boy or his family, especially boys who are gay, have gay parents, or are atheists.  Somehow, they have become convinced that these things are unacceptable and are “inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed,” according to the group’s “Youth Leadership” policy.  That’s funny.
Since 1919, it turns out, the Scouts have maintained “perversion files,” detailing the leaders and other staff who have been accused of impropriety with their underage charges.  That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing — you’d expect such an organization to keep tabs on expelled pedophiles so as not to let them back in — but it is the way such matters have been handled that is disturbing.  According to the Los Angeles Times, in more than 500 cases, allegations of molestation were made to the Scouts rather than to the police and in most cases, there is no record of the organization alerting authorities.

Even if their internal records were effective at keeping molesters out of the Boy Scouts, because the police were not notified, there was nothing preventing the accused from joining other youth groups to molest again.  It is likely, too, that nothing was done to assist the victims in dealing with the matter.  Even worse, there are multiple — as in more than 100 — instances where the Boy Scouts actively participated in or allowed the cover up of the abuse.  While 100 instances may not seem like much when you consider that current scouts number in the millions but given the heinousness of the allegations, even one instance of a cover-up would be far too many.

Prior to this, the group’s discrimination towards the LGBT community and those who lack religious belief was enough to make me want to prevent my kids from having anything to do with the Boy Scouts of America; now I think they’ll stay away for their own protection as well.

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