Over the course of two decades, the Boy Scouts of America covered up the acts of hundreds of child molesters within its ranks, never notifying authorities and instead quietly banishing offenders, according to an investigation by the Los Angeles. Sometimes, the molesters left one Scout troop and reappeared at another to molest again, according to information in the 1,600 confidential Boy Scout files that go from 1970 to 1991.
That pattern sounds horribly familiar. As with the sexual-abuse cases that rocked the Roman Catholic Church and the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State, here is another situation in which authorities, entrusted to care for young people, failed to deal properly with molesters in their institution, which led to more children and youths being victimized. And as in those previous scandals, Boy Scout officials were not just elevating the protection of the institution over the welfare of individuals, but also were perpetuating a culture in which sexual abuse was seen not as a crime to be punished and denounced but as an embarrassment to be dealt with quietly.
According to The Times' story, in the past, Scout leaders being dismissed over allegations of abuse were sent a form letter assuring them that information about their actions or suspected actions would not be publicly released so the dismissal would not damage their “standing in the community.”