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Letters: Divided about the Boy Scouts

August 11, 2012

Re "Boy Scouts' abuse 'barrier' often porous," Aug. 5

Articles about abuse in the Boy Scouts of America and at Penn State University prove an important point: Child molesters aren't just strangers with candy; they're more often people within a family's circle of trust. Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky ran a charity for underprivileged youth to gain access to kids, and the accused Boy Scout leaders employed a similar strategy.

The teaching of "stranger danger" stokes paranoia and distracts from the real threat. Instead of teaching kids not to talk to strangers, we need to teach them to talk, talk and talk some more if anyone — even a friend or family member — attempts to engage with them sexually.

Linda Williamson

Granada Hills

This article feels like a cheap shot. It details abuse cases that are decades old and doesn't mention the positive impact the Boy Scouts has on youth.

I believe there are better ways to bring about change within the Boy Scouts rather than destroying the organization and impacting the thousands of families and communities who benefit from it. It isn't necessary to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Jennifer Dean

Lake Balboa

As a retired Scoutmaster of a troop of disabled kids based at the defunct Camarillo State Hospital, I had numerous opportunities to mingle with Scout troops outside the hospital. Never in my 18 years did I encounter any questionable activities other than a group of Scoutmasters drinking beer. Most of the Scoutmasters I met were fathers who would not tolerate any harm to their sons.

I don't doubt the veracity of The Times' article; nevertheless, my troop and I had 18 years of exciting adventures in the Scouting program without any harm done. Scouts outside the hospital were exposed to others with disabilities and learned to appreciate the humanity behind the handicaps.

Samuel M. Rosen

Newbury Park

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