The Boy Scouts' Reckoning
More than 90,000 accusers have joined a sex abuse suit against the BSA.
“Almost 90,000 sexual abuse claims had been filed against the Boy Scouts of America as the Monday deadline approached for submitting claims in the organization’s bankruptcy case,” reports CBS News. Accusers come from all 50 states and range from age eight to 93. Those are appalling numbers for a (once) great organization, and they vastly surpass any other similar claims against any other organization or institution, including the Catholic Church.
In a statement, the Boy Scouts said, “We are devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in Scouting and moved by the bravery of those who have come forward. We are heartbroken that we cannot undo their pain.”
Clearly, most of the abuse preceded the various controversial decisions the Scouts have made over the last decade. It wasn’t allowing girls or homosexual boys to enter Scouting that did this. It was adult male leaders over decades.
Worse, this abuse was often swept under the rug. “After BSA lost a sex abuse verdict in 2010, the organization was forced to release more than 20,000 confidential documents, later known as the ‘perversion files,’” Axios reports. “The documents showed that the organization tracked suspected and known abusers but failed to report many of them to the police. Lawyers say the perversion files did not document every abuser — many remain unknown.”
The BSA filed bankruptcy in February, an anticipated move in preparation for this case to blow open. That fiscal bankruptcy, however, pales in comparison to the moral bankruptcy of the BSA’s national board.
Knowing that this abuse had taken place and that a reckoning was inevitably coming, the corporate chiefs who wanted to stave off boycotts at their own companies wrecked the Scouts by allowing homosexual leaders. All the while, we’re told that this isn’t a “homosexual problem.” What, it was a heterosexual one? Men abusing boys is by definition homosexual, leftist attempts at the redefinition of words notwithstanding.
Another BSA response has been to greatly expand (read: lengthen) the online video training in “youth protection” for all Scoutmasters and merit badge counselors. Sitting through such training at a laptop in your own living room, however, leaves one with the distinct sense that it’s more about covering the BSA’s liability than it is about preventing misbehavior.
Sadly, we expect the BSA’s membership will continue to dwindle. Since hitting a peak of more than four million in the 1970s, Scouting now involves just two million Americans. And the root problem remains not only unaddressed but glossed over — all while lawyers haggle over a price.