Boy Scouts of America accused of covering up sexual abuse cases
On September 17, 2012 At 1:06 am
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The American Family Association, for instance, issued an action alert urging its members to send in thank you letters to the group's chief executive, Robert Mazzuca, saying, "Count me among the majority of Americans who support the policies and high moral standards of the Boy Scouts of America. I know the BSA has been bullied by those who disagree with the organization's affirmation to set rules that offer the greatest protections to our country's boys." Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association claimed that "homosexual pedophiles like this Jerry Sandusky" would be kept out of BSA.
The latest news-making controversy is that BSA has allegedly been covering up child sexual abuse cases. This is not the first time the issue has come up. After criticism in the past, BSA developed its Youth Protection program in the 1980s to educate youth, leaders and parents about the problem as a whole, and to introduce barriers to pedophiles using the Scout program to reach victims.
The Los Angeles Times has been reviewing hundreds of documents from 1970 to 1991 that reveal that BSA officials quietly asked volunteers suspected of abuse to resign and then reportedly covered up the tracks.
The coverups are reportedly widespread, with hundreds of cases nationwide. According to The Los Angeles Times' investigation, 80 percent of the cases were not reported to law enforcement. The "perversion files" also indicated that statements from victims of abuse were not handed over to the parents. In one case, a person who was involved with BSA for three decades had a "preference" for handicapped students. He was brought to court and convicted, but BSA said they had no prior knowledge of child molester status even though they knew about it and documented it, according to CNN (see video embedded below).
BSA does not know how The LA Times got the documents, but confirmed that they were original and valid. The organization says the abuse happened at a different time and that things are different now.
Deron Smith, a spokesman with BSA, told CNN, "We have always cooperated fully with law enforcement, and now require our members to report even suspicion of abuse directly to local law enforcement. Resent media reports looked at a subset of the BSA's Ineligible Volunteer Files from approximately 40 years ago, when the BSA served approximately five million young people each year."
Reuters writes, "In the wake of revelations about systemic child sex abuse within the Catholic Church and the recent Penn State sex abuse scandal, the files threaten to damage the reputation of one of America's most trusted institutions."