Are the Boy Scouts pulling a Vatican with accusations of sexual abuse by troop leaders?

That appears to be what one family is claiming in a lawsuit they’ve filed against the Boy Scouts of America after their son was molested by a troop leader in 2007:

Family sues Boy Scouts in sexual abuse case – latimes.com.

The lawsuit contends the Scouts knew or should have known the leader put the boy at risk and cites a Scout executive’s reluctance to call police as evidence of an effort to conceal widespread sexual abuse.

“He said that wasn’t necessary, because the Scouts do their own internal investigation,” said the boy’s mother, whose name The Times is withholding to protect her son’s identity. “I thought that was really weird. … I thought it was really important to call the sheriff right away.”

So she did, triggering an investigation of volunteer Scout leader Al Steven Stein, then 29, who was charged with abusing her son and two other boys. In 2009, he pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment.

He was put on probation but later went to prison after authorities found pictures of nude children on his cellphone data card. Stein’s criminal case is closed. But its fallout is far from over for the boy, who is now 17 and, according to his mother, so traumatized by the ordeal that he seldom leaves the house.

It doesn’t appear that the BSA is engaging in the Vatican Shuffle, but it’s clear they are trying to keep any allegations of abuse covered up to protect their reputation. No one outside of the BSA has any idea how widespread the problem is and the BSA has refused to share any information they have on the issue.

One of the goals of the lawsuit is to force the BSA to reveal what it knows and it appears a judge has decided that’s exactly what they must do:

It contends the files will expose the Scouts’ “culture of hidden sexual abuse” and a failure to warn boys, their parents and others about the “pedophilic wolves” who the suit says have long infiltrated one of America’s oldest youth organizations.

In January, after reviewing some of the files, a Santa Barbara Superior Court judge rejected the Scouts’ argument that the documents are irrelevant to the lawsuit and ordered the organization to turn over the most recent 20 years’ worth of records to the boy’s lawyers by Feb. 24, with victims’ names removed.

The judge ordered the lawyers not to disclose the files publicly. Known as “ineligible volunteer files,” the documents have been maintained since the 1920s and are intended to keep suspected molesters and others accused of misconduct out of Scouting.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this has been an ongoing problem for a very long time. It makes perfect sense that a pedophile would be attracted to getting into an organization such as the Boy Scouts simply because it would put them in a role of authority over children. I’d imagine the same is also true of other youth oriented organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, 4H, or the Girl Scouts. It’s a problem that’s going to occur and one that’s best dealt with openly and honestly so that if someone does make it through the screening process (the BSA does have a screening process, right?) you don’t end up being accused of trying to hide the fact just to protect your reputation.

8 thoughts on “Are the Boy Scouts pulling a Vatican with accusations of sexual abuse by troop leaders?

  1. Coverups are rotten strategy. Every organization that works with kids attracts pedophiles but there’s no reason to let them feel safe. If you want to run a clean shop, you call the cops RIGHT AWAY when allegations are made and cooperate as they investigate. Won’t take long before the pedophiles in your organization conclude that they need to be somewhere else.

  2. since the mormans have hijacked the BSA, it is but a shell of what it once was, and a cover for their filth. I tell EVERYONE that has children to NOT let them join this club for the morman child molesters.

  3. the BSA does have a screening process, right?

    Yes, they do. “No atheists or homosexuals”.

    Oh, you meant one to screen out pedophiles. No, I don’t think they have one of those.

  4. This story is so unfair on the Boy Scouts. I remember my Scout leader. He was great. Incredibly unlucky, though. When we went camping, he would often get bitten by a snake, and one of us would have to suck the poison out. I can’t remember how many times that poor guy got snakebite on his dick. But he was always ready to organise another camp.

  5. since the mormans have hijacked the BSA, it is but a shell of what it once was, and a cover for their filth. I tell EVERYONE that has children to NOT let them join this club for the morman child molesters.

    I’m no particular fan of Mormonism, but this seems like a low blow (apologies for the poor word choice). There are sexual predators of all stripes. The most important thing is to take a hostile and pro-active stance towards pedophilia within organizations, particularly those in which the preservation of a wholesome image provides incentives for cover-ups.

    Internal investigations are important, but they should come AFTER phoning the authorities and should be directed at preventing such conduct in the future.

  6. Internal investigations are important, but they should come AFTER phoning the authorities and should be directed at preventing such conduct in the future.

    Exactly. People are learning that predators exist in almost all organizations, and that a wholesome image is great cover. In the future the institutions that maintain a “wholesome” image won’t be the ones that never have any bad news; it will be the ones that take quick action.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.