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Revoking the Eagle rank

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I know for a fact that Scouts have been "removed (?)" from Scouting for various reasons, and appropriately so. But once a RANK (any rank)is awarded, how could that seperate rank be rescinded? Proof of fraudulantly fulfilling the requirements? Could not the Scout be allowed to "make it right"? Fulfilling requirements and demonstrating acquired skills may not be the grounds for a Scouts removal from Scouting ("drumming out", "reading out","excommunicate", etc.).


How else to discipline a Scout? And who decides? The Troop? The District Committee? Does the Scout get a chance to confront and answer his accusers?


The original post mentioned a Scouter who made some statements that may have no basis in fact, but still raise issues of import.



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I've heard many people make the claim that the BSA can revoke an Eagle Scout award for murder or for "moral transgressions". It sounds like one of those things that seems right, but just isn't. There are no verifiable incidents of the Boy Scouts of America revoking someone's Eagle Scout award after it's been earned.


Once the award is earned, it's earned - it can't be revoked by the Boy Scouts. What can be revoked is membership in the NESA which may have given rise to the belief that the Eagle Scout award may be revoked.


As for the contention that the BSA can waltz in and demand that you return your badges and insignia, it is just that, a contention that would not likely be viewed favorably by the courts, unless the BSA had loaned or given you the insignia. Since in most cases, the insignia and rank badges are purchased from the BSA, it would be rather difficult for the BSA to support a claim for their return unless the BSA was going to compensate you for the insignia. The BSA insignia guide may state they may do so, but the insignia guide is not a legal document or a statement of law. It would be viewed the same as a contention by an appliance maker stating that the refrigerator you purchased remains the property of the appliance maker and can be taken back with cause at any time - just not going to happen.


James Dale's Eagle Scout award was not revoked - his membership in NESA was - but not the award.


As for headline murderer's who are Eagle's, the first that comes to my mind is Russell Henderson, who was one of the murdering scum-buckets that beat and left Matthew Shepard tied to a fence in Wyoming - his Eagle Scout has not been revoked.


Another is Richard Angelo - serial killer - sometimes referred to as the Angel of Death - worked as a nurse and killed 25 people in hospitals. Eagle Scout not revoked.


Another is John Edwards Robinson, Sr. - serial killer from Kansas known as the Cyber-sex killer. Eagle Scout not revoked.


Someone else mentioned Charles Whitman - spree killer/sniper. Eagle Scout not revoked.



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The rights to BSA insignia are owned and controlled by BSA. The sale of cloth badges comes with the obligation of the purchaser to use the insignia for the intended purpose and within the regulations of BSA.


If a person did not earn the Eagle rank, he has no right to buy, sell, trade, possess, or wear the badge.


The Insignia Guide quotes passages from the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America. Thats about a legal a document as any that could be presented in court. Badge swapping of certain items including badges of rank, let alone selling on the eBay is not permitted. The fact that BSA does not actively intervene in casual sales and trades does not mean the practice is encouraged, and does not mean those that participate in those practices are legal.

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I knew about Russell Henderson because I followed the Matthew Shephard case pretty closely. I studied Richard Angelo in my criminal pyschology class. But I verified memory of those by simply typing into my internet search engine the terms Eagle Scout Murderer (or you can use Criminal - you get similar results). This led to the others - and also to the debunking of the Manson Eagle Scout myth. The search term also brings up local cases of Eagle Scouts that were charged with murder and with cases where the victim was an Eagle Scout. I know we hate to see bad news connected with the BSA and Eagle Scouts but there is nothing we can do to prevent it.



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  • 4 weeks later...

"The rights to BSA insignia are owned and controlled by BSA. The sale of cloth badges comes with the obligation of the purchaser to use the insignia for the intended purpose and within the regulations of BSA."


At the Scout Shop I frequent, cloth badges (at least, most of them)are sold to anyone who enters and offers to pay for them, without any communication of this idea. As a result, I don't think BSA would have any legal right to argue that it retains ownership of the patches.

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just a small comment here...as I pass through...



While I am not a patent attorney nor do I play one on TV, trade marks/ property control are very enforceable and BSA' are pretty tight... get ready...


FScouter is very correct here (gosh, that didn't hurt as much as I thought it would)as to their ownership (and the Federal Charter reinforces the ownership).


Product copy right is very tricky...just because you by a "Coke" does not license you to use the trade mark and if you think because they do not make you sign a form...I suggest you try using the Brand Name or one of their logos and see how fast a bunch of New York lawyers tie your shorts in a knot!


still smilin'


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FScouter says, "Badge swapping of certain items including badges of rank, let alone selling on the eBay is not permitted.".


Hmmm... let me get this straight. You frown on the collecting of rank badges and merit badges?


So as a counselor for Collections MB, if a Scout comes to me with a collection of old-style rank badges from the 1940s (which he clearly has not personally earned), I should tell him his hobby is in violation of BSA Rules and Regulations??? Does that extend to confiscation of the contraband??


If so, truly the Uniform Police have run amok. :(

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I agree with the sentiment by Trevorum. As I understand it, copyright merely limits the right to 'copy' something to the owner of the right, not the purchaser, unless the owner of the right specifically relinquishes that right. It doesn't mean that the owner of the copyright can confiscate the book (or badge) you just purchased from them. Officers of a court MAY confiscate an item if it is illegally copied in violation of the copyright, but only if the owner of the copyright pursues that action.

So go ahead and swap all the emblems and badges you want, just don't knock off copies yourself.

If you purchased an advancement award, it is your property and the fight to recover it by BSA would not be worth the effort...and they would lose anyway if you made a legitimate purchase. Unless the purchase agreement (receipt, in this case) clearly states BSA's right to take it back, the purchase is like the purchase of a baseball...unconditional. It's yours until you decide to sell it or give it to someone else.

Some items, like passports and drivers licenses, actually BELONG to a government and they can be taken. But I can't think of many cases where normal goods have similar status.

Hypothetically, if I were an atheistic, gay transexual activist and I picked up a scout uniform off eBay, I would wear it in protest without fear of anything more than a lot of noise on these forums. ;)

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The distinction here is between the right to control a trademark and the right to control an object with the trademark on it. While I can't manufacture shirts with a Coca-Cola logo, if I buy such a shirt from Coca-Cola, I can sell it on eBay, trade it, wear it when I appear on a talk show on TV, burn it, whatever. The object--the shirt--belongs to me, and I can do whatever I like with it unless there was some kind of restriction in the purchase agreement. It's the same thing with the BSA patches, unless BSA wants to do a lot more to restrict and control their sales.

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       I'm sure someone has posted this before but looks like it needs to be repeated. Insignia Guide 2005 (don't have the 2006 if it's different Please let me know) Page 3 Badge Swapping; Boy Scouts and Venturers attending jamborees may swap among themselves articles and novelties of a local or regional nature. The swapping of such items as badges of office, rank, distinguished service, training, performance, achievement and distinction, however, is a violation of Article X of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, forbidding the holding of these badges by any but the members who have complied with the requirements for them.


          So as a counselor for Collections MB, if a Scout comes to me with a collection of old-style rank badges from the 1940s (which he clearly has not personally earned), I should tell him his hobby is in violation of BSA Rules and Regulations??? Yes, explain the rule to the boy and let him know that while what he has collected may be interesting it is against the rules. If this boy had collected "coke" spoons or "hash" pipes from around the world you would not have to ask what to tell him. He has violated the rules none the less by collecting items he is forbidden to "hold". I'm sure you would not want to give the boy the impression that violating the rules is condoned. Many of us knowingly violate rules but should we ever allow the boys to think that it's "right" to violate the rules?


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OK, I think I'm reading the right thing..please correct me if I am reading the wrong document:

"All uniforms, badges, and insignia of the Boy Scouts of America may be used only by members of the Boy Scouts of America, registered and in good standing."

Without reprinting the entire article, I think this is the bold passage to which you refer, LongHaul. It is entitled, "Uniform Rules and Regulations". Do I have the right one?

Anyway, if this is correct, I don't see the restriction. It evidently applies to the 'use' of official stuff, not possession. If this regulation is interpreted to mean possession, then anyone who leaves scouting and is no longer registered is instantly in violation although I see nothing that BSA can do about it, as if they would want to. Am I missing something here?

I interpret 'use' to mean 'wear' or 'display' as if one IS a member, or to misrepresent actual rank or position, perhaps. The enforcement aspect is unspecified...I interpret that to mean that Trevorum can stop trembling with fear, poor guy.;)


Edited part:

Oops, here...I think I found the part - fear this Trevorum:

"Clause 9. All badges and insignia shall remain the property of the Boy Scouts of America subject to recall for cause by the Corporation or itsduly authorized representative."

But this still says nothing about simple possession. One must wonder what the intent is of this statement. I suspect it is to guard against the scenario I mentioned earlier, you know, the sex change and all. I can just see it, I'm parading through New Orleans (or San Francisco) and suddenly the uniform police begin to strip me (literally) of my uniform...that is, of course, except for the very unofficial thong.;)


OK, one more edit:

Here's another paragraph from the real deal:

"Clause 3. Restricted Sale and Use. The saleand use of the appropriate uniform as specifiedshall be restricted to members of the Boy Scouts of America who are registered and in goodstanding, according to the records of the organization. It shall be the responsibility of all members of the Boy Scouts of America and especially of all commissioned officers and chartered councils to cooperate with the Corporation in preventing the use of the official uniforms by those who are not members of the organization in good standing."

Now this makes it clear that the purpose is as I surmised, prevention of 'use' by persons who are not members in good standing. So...is it possible to be a member but not in good standing? Or are they linked, loss of standing automatically being loss of membership? Someone want to clarify?(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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