After reading the Feb. 18 article, “Siblings discover dad’s Scout abuse, remember their own,” about the Boy Scouts and sexual abuse issues, I feel compelled to respond. I am an Eagle Scout and was an adult scout leader for several years. The author of this and a previous article seems to have some sort of prejudice against Boy Scouting and lacks historical perspective.
The Boys Scouts, almost from it’s inception kept records of leaders accused of such acts, and attempted to ban them from positions in scouting, something not done by any other social organization that I know of. This applied whether or not they had been formally accused of a crime. Also, 50 to 60 years ago, public attitudes were different regarding this sort of thing. While viewed as shocking and outrageous, schools, youth organizations, the law, neighborhoods and even victims’ parents often took a view that if no physical harm was done, and the perpetrator was removed, that was all that was expected. Often, parents felt that the pursuit of justice would traumatize the child worse than simply moving on. Even public schools moved perpetrating teachers around to avoid scrutiny. Newpapers also shared responsibility for not shielding the names of juvenile victims in those days, making parents more hesitant to pursue charges.
The fact that the Boys Scouts’ efforts were defeated by various external efforts and social norms should in no way reflect on them. True, some Scout leaders did cover up internally, but that was not the intent of the Boy Scouts of America. When it functions as it should, Boy Scouting is the most beneficial youth organization for young men that there is.
I hate to see people like Mr. Duara and the siblings named in this article blaming an organization which did its best, often in the face of contrary social values, to put a stop to sexual molestation.
Glenn V. Ballard