US Boy Scouts hid sex abuse: Report

2012-09-17 10:09

Washington - The Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters over two decades and often left parents in the dark as a means to save face, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday.

After reviewing 1 600 confidential files dated 1970-1991 from the century-old organisation, the Times found more than 500 instances in which the Scouts learned of abuse directly from boys, parents, staff or anonymous tips, rather than after the incidents were reported to the authorities.

And in about 80% of those cases, there was no record of the Scouts reporting the abuse claims to authorities. The Times also found that officials actively sought to hide the allegations or allowed the suspects to conceal the abuse claims in more than 100 of the cases.

Although the organisation, which counts nearly four million adult and youth members, has long sought to keep the "perversion files" out of public view, it could face a damning wave of lawsuits and bad publicity in the coming weeks as the records are set to be released.

The Oregon Supreme Court has ordered the public release of about 1 200 files dating from 1965 to 1985, including some reviewed by the newspaper.

Scouting officials told the Times that in many cases, they covered up the allegations to spare young victims from embarrassment. But some of the alleged molesters then went on to abuse other children, according to Scouts documents and court records cited by the Times.

Apology to victims

In one example cited by the newspaper, a Maryland troop leader who confirmed allegations of abuse against him was given six weeks to leave and told he could give his associates "whatever reason that he chose" to resign.

An official was quoted as saying in the troop leader's file that the move gave him the opportunity to leave in a "graceful manner", adding that the senior Scout was reminded that he had agreed to keep the matter secret.

In response to the article, the organisation issued an apology to the victims and stressed it had always co-operated with the authorities. Since 2010, the Scouts require officials to report even suspicion of abuse to local authorities.

"The Boy Scouts of America believes that one instance of abuse is far too many," spokesperson Deron Smith said.

"We regret there have been times when despite the BSA's best efforts to protect children, Scouts were abused, and for that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims."

The organisation, founded in 1910, is best-known for promoting outdoor activities and community service for boys aged seven to 21.

In July, it reaffirmed a ban on openly gay members and leaders after a secret review, despite calls to overturn it.

  • John Peter Steyn - 2012-09-17 10:31

    Priests and scoutmasters. Keep your kids away

      TSR01 - 2012-09-17 12:30

      Kind if fascinating that they re-affirmed their ban on gays from joining Scouts not too long ago: Banning the innocent to protect the criminals? Way to ostracize homosexuals when your own organization has been rife with sexual abuse by alleged "straight" members across same-sex lines. Speaks volumes of the hypocrisy at work!

  • tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-09-17 10:41

    Institutionalized molestation, sick f*cks. When an institution doesn't take this twisted sh*t seriously you really have to question the morality of the institution.

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-09-17 11:20

      The die-hard scouties will object no doubt, but scouts worldwide is riddled with pedophilia and praying on little boys. It's disgusting!

      zaatheist - 2012-09-17 11:28

      Charles I was a boy scout in my youth and never encountered anything untoward. That was in South Africa. In the US it nay well be different and I find it ironic that the Boy Scouts of America are rabidly homophobic. Says something about homophobes I guess. “Nothing optional—from homosexuality to adultery—is ever made punishable unless those who do the prohibiting (and exact the fierce punishments) have a repressed desire to participate. As Shakespeare put it in King Lear, the policeman who lashes the whore has a hot need to use her for the very offense for which he plies the lash.” -- Christopher Hitchens

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-09-17 12:00

      za - this happens here in SA too my friend. There was an horrific case in Benoni years ago where the scout leader was molesting young boys and they played his sick games together. Your particular scout group might have been run properly, but this type of thing if rife in scouts, it's just covered up well.

  • Gcodi Mahomed - 2012-09-17 11:49

    ahhh,the people complaining here,are the same ones celebrating the freedom america is trying to instill on foreign countries,this is what america is propagating in there guise of freedom,so live with it dont be a bunch of hypocrites

      jaba.kov - 2012-09-17 12:01

      The pot calling the kettle black… Do you seriously want to get onto the topic of hypocrites Mahomed?

      gary.guy.507 - 2012-09-17 12:06

      i would rather have the freedom of america than your narrow minded bigoted enslaved enforcement of thoughts perpetrated by your type of leader.... so screw u! ... and how do i know what is your 'type of leader' .. well i am just very clever!

  • Hornwood509 - 2012-09-17 12:23

    Penn & Teller did an episode on what's become of the Boy Scouts of America years ago. Watch it if you have the time.

  • maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-09-17 13:40

    Unfortunately predators will always be drawn to societies and jobs where they have regular access to their prey. Many paedophiles are adolescents.

  • pages:
  • 1