Boy Scouts helped child molesters cover their tracks, files show

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When volunteers and employees were suspected of sexually abusing children, Boy Scout officials often didn’t tell police, files from 1970-91 reveal. In many cases they sought to hide the situation.


Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public.

A Los Angeles Times review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 has found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign — and helped many cover their tracks.

Volunteers and employees suspected of abuse were allowed to leave citing bogus reasons such as business demands, “chronic brain dysfunction” and duties at a Shakespeare festival.

The details are contained in the organization’s confidential “perversion files,” a blacklist of alleged molesters, that the Scouts have used internally since 1919. Scouts’ lawyers around the country have been fighting in court to keep the files from public view.

As The Times reported in August, the blacklist often didn’t work: Men expelled for alleged abuses slipped back into the program, only to be accused of molesting again. Now, a more extensive review has shown that Scouts sometimes abetted molesters by keeping allegations under wraps.

In the majority of cases, the Scouts learned of alleged abuse after it had been reported to authorities. But in more than 500 instances, the Scouts learned about it from boys, parents, staff members or anonymous tips.

In about 400 of those cases — 80% — there is no record of Scouting officials reporting the allegations to police. In more than 100 of the cases, officials actively sought to conceal the alleged abuse or allowed the suspects to hide it, The Times found.

Written By: By Kim Christensen and Jason Felch
continue to source article at latimes.com

12 COMMENTS

  1. “So, you’re interested in becoming a scout leader, Mr Jones?”

    “Very much so. I’ve been involved in the movement since I was a boy. There’s just one thing: I’m sexually attracted to people of the same sex as myself. That won’t be a problem, will it?”

    “Not at all! Oh, wait, you don’t mean adults of the same sex, do you?”

    “Yes, of course I do.”

    Sir, this happens to be a Christian organisation. Kindly take your perversions elsewhere.”

  2. The irony!  They aid pedophiles, and block out gay adults and gay scouts. 

    I always assumed pedophiles were very rare, but looks like perhaps they just hide successfully.  It might be interesting for someone to do a survey of all the pornography on the Internet and categorise it as a measure of the distribution of the outer philias.

    I hold what most people consider a scandalous view of pedophilia. I presume these people don’t want to be pedophiles any more than I wanted to be gay.  I am not prepared to sacrifice children to them, but I have no problem with them creating art work where they draw from imagination or from fully clothed photos of children or make up stories.  I see no reason to make their lives as miserable as possible, just to keep them from forcing themselves on children.  However, I get the impression many of these pedophile priests are not simply sexually attracted to children, they want to terrify and hurt the kids.

  3. “I hold what most people consider a scandalous view of pedophilia. I presume these people don’t want to be pedophiles any more than I wanted to be gay.  I am not prepared to sacrifice children to them, but I have no problem with them creating art work where they draw from imagination or from fully clothed photos of children or make up stories.  I see no reason to make their lives as miserable as possible, just to keep them from forcing themselves on children.  However, I get the impression many of these pedophile priests are not simply sexually attracted to children, they want to terrify and hurt the kids.”

    I agree that, if it stayed just in the head of the individual, and no one else was ever involved, there would be no problem.  Unfortunately, as with rape, it is as much about power over another person as it is about sex.

  4. I am not prepared to sacrifice children to them, but I have no problem with them creating art work where they draw from imagination or from fully clothed photos of children or make up stories.  I see no reason to make their lives as miserable as possible, just to keep them from forcing themselves on children. However, I get the impression many of these pedophile priests are not simply sexually attracted to children, they want to terrify and hurt the kids.

    First of all, Roedy, this thread is about Scoutmaster pederasts, not the ones in the colorful dresses. Secondly, I find this attitude quite disturbing, and I’m surprised that no one on this site has seen fit to condemn what I can only describe as pedophile accommodationism.

    I have no desire to make anyone’s life miserable either, but nor do I think it’s acceptable to legitimise child sex abuse by saying “listen, lads, keep your hands off the kiddies if you can; just imagine what they look like in the altogether and let Mme Palm and her five daughters do the rest. And if that isn’t enough, you can always get your jollies by reading pedo fiction. It’s okay, the kids usually enjoy it in the stories; they hardly ever cry – unless that’s what you’re into. wink wink.”

    Pedophiles are always looking for ways to justify their actions. “They were only pictures!” is the usual lament whenever some sad case is hauled into a police station because he didn’t have enough blood in his brain at the time to realise that his credit card details were traceable.
    Don’t make it easier for them.

    If I may offer the following exchange from the South Park episode Cartman Joins NAMBLA:

    FBI Agent: We’ve been after you for a long time, buddy. Do you know your rights?

    NSP: Rights, does anybody know their rights?  You see, I’ve learned something today.  Our forefathers came to this country because they believed in an idea, an idea called freedom.  They wanted to leave in a place where you couldn’t be prosecuted for your beliefs – where a person could live the way he chooses to live.  You see us as being perverted because we’re different from you; people are afraid of us because they don’t understand, and sometimes it’s easier to persecute than to understand.

    Kyle: Dude, you have sex with children.

    NSP: We are human.  Most of us didn’t even choose to be attracted to young boys.  We were born that way.  We can’t help the way we are and if you all can’t understand that, well, then, I guess you’ll just have to put us away.

    Kyle: Dude!  You have SEX with CHILDREN.

    Stan: Yeah, you know we believe in equality for everybody and tolerance and all that gay stuff, but dude, fuck you.

  5. roedy, psychotic. I disagree. I see it as less like homosexuality and more like alcoholism or paranoid schizophrenia. It’s something they need to be treated for and prevented from acting upon, possibly by incarceration as for other forms of criminal insanity. I was thinking it’s different from those in that it affects others, but that’s true of both of those, in that it ruins the lives of the family and friends of the afflicted. Not in the same way, though. It’s a hard question. Ultimately it would need to be studied systematically (though how could one do that ethically?) but I suspect that exposure to child porn (ugh) increases the likelihood of acting on their desires, and reinforces them.

    The case against those who assist people with that tendency to conceal their actions is more clear cut.

    It’s possible it has a genetic origin. If that’s so, who would object to its elimination from the human gene pool?

  6. This is very complicated stuff actually and a large part of the problem is people coming up with overly simple and often quite barbaric solutions.
     

    First, there is the problem that the scout club will loose all it’s members ones it’s known child molester has been on their staff team. Well, this is what is often feared and as a result the problem is concealed. This is of course the wrong solution. It’s way better to be honoust, and most parents will be glad to hear that due action has been taken. Unfortunately, often people choose the wrong solution.

    Second, most peadophiles are not child molesters. Asking for their sexual orientation is certainly not going to help. Due to the risk of social exclulsion, most will hide their orientation, which actually causes the problem to become more complex. In a way I agree with roedygreen but be mindful though that stories can enhace their fantasies which in some cases will not be enough anymore. Eventually this could lead to abuse.

    Third, looking at the numbers, the problem might be presented a bit out of proportion. 400 cases in about a hundred years. That’s four per year. It seems that most American boy scouts are pretty safe. (Don’t get me wrong here, any child abuse case is serious and should be dealt with accordingly).

    (any typo’s can be the result of my badly functioning computer, appologies for tha)

  7. The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or to forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because in the opinions of others to do so would be wise or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else.
    ~ John Stuart Mill 1806-05-20 1873-05-08 On Liberty

    This statement strongly influenced me in my gay lib work.  I decided that to be consistent, I would have to be prepared to stop prosecuting all victim-less crimes. Christians want to block gay marriage basically on the grounds they think it is icky, even if they would never personally observe it. There is no victim, so they have no right to interfere. In a similar way the Canadian legal system prosecuted a pedophile for keeping a journal of fantasies and his drawings.  I see no victim.  In fact he is probably less likely to be involved with real children if he is satisfied with fantasy. Wives complain their husbands ignore  them because of their Internet adult porn addiction.

    The notion gets in trouble with drugs that people can try and get addicted without realising what trouble they are bringing down on themselves.  So I suppose you can prosecute the dealers, basically for tricking people.

  8. The problem is whenever and wherever children play or are in groups, pedophiles will try to find a way to get near them. Frequently child molesters fool themselves into thinking that they are good, safe people. Organizations like these need to increase their standards and take action. Although the teaching profession is not without its problems, teachers face losing their certification and will be prosecuted. People and organizations don’t call the police because they personally do not want to be bothered by all the media attention and hassle that will follow. They are thinking of their own inconvenience and how this incident might reflect poorly on themselves rather than doing  the right thing.

    I wonder if their position on not allowing gay troop leaders is a response to these problems. Instead of calling the police, they decided a simple solution for their organization would be to simply discriminate against what they thought was the cause of the problem. Being ignorant in so many ways (confusing homosexuality with pedophilia) they failed to see the real problem – their lack of response to do the honorable thing. One big media incident or case that led to incarceration and pedophiles would take note and keep away.

  9. I was reading through the comments posted at the original article:

    http://discussions.latimes.com

    Gave me a headache.

    Being gay and relatively young, sometimes I imagine being old and people looking at me as if I’m some kind child sex pervert. Makes you feel insecure being around children where other people might be on their guard in case you decide to molest the kids.

    A child abuser/molester is just that. Doesn’t have to be necessarily gay or straight or trans or whatever. Likewise, a murder is a murderer; a corrupt politician is a corrupt politician.

    One commenter wrote:

    “The gays in this twisted mess are worse, they have a system within that culture that allows many of that community to rise in the ranks within those organizations TO PROTECT what they do. I think its worse on many levels.”

    or this

    “No matter how many times anti-gays try to twist the facts, the facts are still that the BSA’s problem with sexual abuse is caused by their vetted, heterosexual-only Scoutmasters…”

    Logic is rather lacking in many of the comments to that article (almost 500 now). The simple reason why the abusers in this case are male is because the organization is male dominated. If the BSoA were run by a bunch of green aliens, the only few individuals who would be in a potential position to abuse the kids would be the green alien overlords. What’s more, instead of deterring such cases, the way the organization operated itself — very similar to many religious organizations –  encouraged and sustained the pattern of abuse.

  10. The ad hominems are beginning to fly.  The moderator could swoop at any point.

    The problem is people have such a strong reaction against child abuse that they think purely emotionally when trying to deal with it. Social policy should be based on science. Instead it gets based on what people are SURE must be true based on their gut reactions.

    What is it we expect somebody who has a sexual attraction to children to do?  We know they can’t simply will it away. The police once brought a pedophile “Martin” to see me hoping I could do something to straighten him out. He was married with a 10 year old child. He was like a child. He would just say “but I wanna”.  I was ready to strangle him.

    What I want is for him to leave kids alone. That is by far the important thing. What he fantasises is not under anybody’s control and I don’t think it is my business. I don’t want him hiring people to make kiddie porn, but if he doodles without any kids being involved, my prime demand is met. When I think about it, that is how I want him to handle his desires. That is the best I can expect. It would naive of me to expect him to wave a wand and make them go away.

    If a pedophile keeps away from kids, that is the desired behaviour. We should not punish him.  Most people hate pedophiles and want to kill them, even if they never touch a kid.  They feel very self ighteous about that.

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