Recent allegations that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) failed to report over 500 cases of child molestation by troop leaders to authorities between 1970 and 1991 stunned Manual students involved in the organization.
In a Sept. 16 article, The Los Angeles Times reported that BSA administrators intentionally failed to notify police of allegations in 80 percent of reported abuse cases in an attempt to “protect the reputation of the scouts”.
“I think that it is terrible that those events took place and that does not reflect the morals and ideas of the boy scouts at all. It is even worse that proper action was not taken, even if they were trying to save the groups reputation,” said Mitchell Becker (12), who is and Eagle Scout, the highest rank a scout can achieve, and Senior Patrol Leader in the organization.
“(The allegations) should have been taken to authorities and not covered up. Boy scouts are not taught to be deceptive,” Becker said.
Despite the uncovering of this news, Eagle Scout Elliot Fowler (12) believes that cases like these could not happen today. “There is something in the Boy Scouts called ‘2 deep leadership’ which means an adult can never be by them self with a child; there always has to be at least two adults,” Fowler said.
Becker agreed. “I have visited state and national jamborees where the number of scouts can go over into the 100,000s. I have always seen adults that have been concerned if not overly concerned for the wellbeing of the boys and their safety from such acts,” Becker said.
Some scouts are skeptical of the allegations, a view expressed by Scout Alex Rubino (11). “Although the organization may have tried to suppress false rumors created by the media, their intentions were not to lie, or hide the truth,” Rubino said.
While scouts across the country have expressed disbelief at the allegations, Fowler was not as taken aback. “I have heard about things like this happening sometimes. It sounded a little familiar,” Fowler said.
Despite this, Fowler does not believe the BSA is at fault. “The BSA never intends for this stuff to happen, but it still does, and you can’t blame the organization for this. These were individuals and not the organization. These things happen even if it is a small percentage,” Fowler said.
Though he does not believe the organization is at fault, Fowler believes that the BSA had an obligation to report the incidents to proper authorities, a viewpoint shared by many scouts. “The BSA is a very highly respected organization, but if someone is being harmed/abused authorities should be informed even if it’s not the organizations fault,” Fowler said.
“(The organization) should have been honest and done what was best for the victims and brought the people to justice and followed their values of honesty and caring for the community,” Becker said.
Multiple troop leaders based in Louisville area troops declined to comment for this story.
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