Boy Scouts of America bans gays, but not child abusers

My little brother was in the Boy Scouts for several years and I still remember how much he enjoyed it. My son is still too little to join, but my husband and I have talked about signing him up when he's old enough. But I'd be lying if I said the Los Angeles Times' report revealing case after case of repeat child abuse within the Boy Scouts hasn't had an impact on my view of this organization.

After reviewing more than 1,200 confidential files from 1970 to 1991, the newspaper found more than 125 cases in which men suspected of molestation were allegedly allowed to continue in the organization.


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What's even more shocking is that in at least 50 cases, the BSA expelled suspected abusers, but these men managed to somehow re-enter the organization--using false identities or taking advantage of shoddy bookkeeping--and were accused of molesting again. In one particular case, an Indiana scoutmaster convicted of abusing a teen in 1970 had no problems leading two troops in Illinois from 1971 to 1988. He later confessed to assaulting more than 100 boys and was sentenced to 100 years in prison. 

I honestly hate reading news like these. While I'm aware that it doesn't necessarily mean child abuse is rampant in the Boy Scouts, it's really disheartening to realize that, in many cases, so little was done to put a stop to it even after the men were blacklisted. The so-called "perversion files"--which the BSA has tried to keep confidential to protect victims, witnesses and anyone falsely accused--were supposed to create a barrier, but it seems like it was full of holes. 

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The craziest (and most hypocritical) thing is that, just a few weeks ago, the BSA emphatically reaffirmed its ban on gays, which to many is divisive, outdated and pretty much promotes intolerance, yet they don't seem to have a problem with child abusers. Looks like I'll have to seriously rethink my decision to sign my son up for Boy Scouts!

What do you think about this report? What do you think about the Boy Scouts? Leave us a comment with your opinion.

Image via anja_johnson/flickr

Topics: abuse  child abuse  parents and children