Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the woods. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the Boy Scouts of America have voluntarily begun an exhaustive examination of their own history with sexual abuse allegations. The BSA will be going through their own ‘Blacklist’ of accused and suspected child abusers in the organization since 1950 and turning over information on any and all men who were never actually reported to the police. On the surface, this seems like an excellent idea. Until you realize that in over 80% of cases when sexual abuse occurred the Boy Scouts of America either concealed or covered up the abuse in an attempt to protect the organization.
The Times notes that hundreds of abuse cases were never sent to the police from the 1970s until the early 1990s. In most cases, alleged abusers were allowed to quit, quietly leave scouting and were never heard from again, or brought to justice. Sounds like another large organization with a spotless reputation with access to young children doesn’t it?
I know that the tasteless jokes and comparisons to the Catholic Church will abound after this story gets more ink and press, but it’s important to give the Boy Scouts at least a little credit. First, the organization is doing this voluntarily. While clearly this is an attempt to inoculate the BSA from allegations of a cover-up, the fact remains that they have decided to clean house when they could just as easily pretend none of this ever happened. More importantly, as horrible as the BSA’s behavior might have been, unlike the Catholic Church, there is no evidence thus far that alleged abusers were allowed back into scouting in any other capacity under the umbrella of scouting.
Boys and Girl Scouts are not nearly as prominent in America culture as they once were, even in my Generation X youth of the 1980s. Nevertheless it never warms the heart to hear that yet another dusty pillar of Americana is caught up in cover-up of sexual deviancy. Let’s just hope that whatever is discovered in these reviews can result in some victims getting justice or at least closure. If hundreds of abusers are revealed but allowed to get off scot free because of a statue of limitations it will be like abusing these young men all over again.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.