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Boy Scouts must defendagainst 'sexual predators'
Posted By David M. Bresnahan On 08/30/2000 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
While under attack by homosexual activist groups, the ACLU, United
Way chapters and even corporate and governmental bodies for its policies
prohibiting homosexuals, the Boy Scouts of America is now being assailed
from the exact opposite direction — with legal charges that it hasn’t
done enough to protect scouts from sexual predators.
Indeed, even though BSA is struggling to keep the two thorny issues
officially separate — its policy of not admitting homosexuals as
leaders or Scouts, and its educational efforts aimed at preventing
sexual molestation of Scouts — a federal judge has tied the two issues
together by saying BSA should fully expect that scouting will attract
For the record, Boy Scouts of America officials insist the policy on
homosexuals — recently validated by the U.S. Supreme Court — has
nothing to do with efforts to prevent molestation of Boy Scouts.
“We treat them as two separate issues,” explained Greg Shields, BSA
However, Boy Scouts of America is named in a civil suit involving
molestation of a scout, even though the troop involved did not obey BSA
policies and rules. Although BSA has a comprehensive child sexual abuse
prevention and awareness program — that was ignored by the troop — the
attorney for the plaintiff claims BSA should have forced the troop to
“We’re going to be seeking millions of dollars against the Boy Scouts
because they knew better,” attorney Charles A. Bonner told the San Diego
Union-Tribune. Bonner filed the case for his client, Mario Juarez, who
was molested by his assistant scoutmaster, Jorge Paz, in 1990.
Bonner said BSA national leaders know that “the organization attracts
pedophiles like a magnet attracts metal.”
Child sexual molestation is more than three times more common among
homosexuals than among heterosexuals, according to the report, “The
Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles among Sex
Offenders against Children” in “The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy,”
number 1 for 1992.
Despite the many cases of scout molestation over the years at the
hands of predatory scout leaders, Shields doesn’t attempt to tie the two
“Anyone can be a child molester,” he said. Homosexuals are denied
participation because they live contrary to the Scout Oath and Law, he
explained. Boy Scouts take an oath that they will be “physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.”
The U.S. Supreme Court case confirmed that the BSA is a private
organization that can limit membership to anyone. Homosexual activist
organizations are engaged in a nationwide campaign to pressure the
90-year-old scouting organization to change that policy. In addition,
many organizations and government entities — persuaded that BSA is
engaging in unfair discrimination against homosexuals — are now
attacking the organization financially, with some United Way chapters pulling their funding, for instance.
Meanwhile, Paz is now serving a 14-year sentence at San Quentin State Prison for repeatedly molesting Juarez and nine other boys in 1990 in Troop 225 of Oakland, Calif.
Juarez, now an adult living in San Leandro, Calif., claims the Boy Scouts of America did not do enough to protect him. Even though BSA has an extensive program to teach boys, parents and leaders about child molestation, Juarez claims the training was not used in his troop and BSA did nothing about it.
The BSA child sexual abuse prevention program includes a video, booklet and training classes for leaders, parents and boys. The program teaches that anyone can be a child molester and boys are taught the three Rs — recognize, resist and report.
A basic set of rules goes a long way to preventing problems in scout troops, according to Shields.
“There’s a common thread in these molestation cases,” explained Shields. “They don’t follow the rules.”
The rules require that at least two adults are always present — “two-deep leadership” — and that adults do not sleep in the same tent or cabin with boys. Most child molesters break those rules, said Shields.
He added that BSA shouldn’t be held accountable for leaders who do not attend the training and do not follow the rules.
Yet, the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the case should move forward, since “it should be reasonably foreseeable to the Scouts that a child participating in Scouting might fall prey to a sexual predator,” said Justice Ignazio Ruvolo.
The current BSA training program began in 1988. There were 169 scout leaders dropped for child molestation in 1987, which increased to 209 in 1989 after the training began — an increase BSA has attributed to greater awareness as a result of the training.
Shields said the total number of child molesters thrown out of the BSA is only a very small percentage of the 1.2 million adult leaders. He did not have current figures.
Juarez blames BSA for the abuse he suffered and claims that if he had received the training he would have known how to recognize the problem and resist the approaches of Paz.
Paz violated BSA rules when he failed to participate in the training and failed to provide the materials to boys and parents. He frequently took boys to activities without a second adult present and he also slept in the same tent with boys, according to Juarez’s lawsuit.
Recently, a professional staff administrator for the BSA office in San Diego, Calif., was arrested for molesting a large number of Boy Scouts between 1997 and 1999. Glenn Jordan has been charged with 33 counts of child molestation so far, and prosecutors say the investigation is still under way, with more charges expected.
Robert Malcomb, Jr., a former scoutmaster in Oklahoma, pleaded guilty on Friday to 61 charges of having had sex with five boys under the age of 14, as well as multiple counts of rape, forcible oral sodomy, lewd acts with children and bestiality. His wife turned him in after she caught him molesting a 12-year-old boy in their home. Malcomb had been a scout leader since 1992.
There have been similar cases in Louisiana and Oregon.
Shields said the Boy Scouts of America — which is a major part of the lives of 5 million youths and 1.2 million adults — would continue to say no to homosexuals, and also continue to insist that scout leaders follow all the rules to prevent child sexual abuse.
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