Charges of Abuse Against Scouting

Last April, exposed court testimony showed the organization believed more than 7,800 of its former leaders were involved in sexually abusing more than 12,000 children over the course of 72 years. – CNN

Scouting was an important part of my childhood. As I read that the BSA purportedly fostered (not sure how) an environment conducive to pedophiles, my shock and revulsion are probably similar to that of Catholics as the scope of abuse by priests became apparent.

My two brothers and I are Eagle Scouts and also received the God and Country Award. One of my brothers was a member of the Order of the Arrow. My mother was a den mother (Cub Scouts) and my father was a pack leader (Cub Scouts) and post leader (Explorer Scouts). Both of them were active as volunteers above the troop level–the council and state level–and received awards for their dedication.

Like the Catholic church, the abuses committed by Scouting’s leaders tend to undermine all that was (and still is) good and healthy about the organization’s programs, purpose, and intent. Scouting as gone from the epitome of excellence, morals, and civic responsibility to the dangerous swamp you don’t want your child to enter.

If I were a Catholic, I would be angry at the church for ignoring the potential signs of the problem for years before taking definitive action. As a child of scouting, I am angry at the BSA for (apparently) ignoring or failing to see the potential signs of a systemic organization weakness rather than finding out why and how it was happening and getting rid of it.

As a Scout, I saw no evidence of abuse or even an atmosphere that made abuse likely.  The cynical amongst us will say, “Sure, a man takes a group of boys out into the woods for a weekend camping trip, what do you think it likely to happen?”

To that, I say “bullshit” because I don’t think the default mindset of every adult male is to abuse a young boy.  But a lot of men did and a lot of you boys suffered, and will never rid themselves of their torment. The crime, atrocious enough in and of itself, is that it looms large because it defames the majority of Scout leaders who would never think of such a thing and casts aspersion upon all the good that has been done through the organization and its programs for years.

Yes, I am angry. Yes, I want the organization to address and “fix” the problem. Yes, I want a new and revitalized BSA to teach young men and women about the sanctity of the land and the importance of high moral standards.

–Malcolm