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Joni4TA

Spinoff Re: "homosexual behavior is automatically disqualifying"

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"I owe the CC at least an ounce of respect, to let them handle this THEIR WAY"

 

In most situations, yes, you do need to let the CC lead. I'm still of the opinion that this is in the rare exception where you can't do it your way -- you have to do it the YPT way.

 

I do not envy what is about to descend upon your unit by any means, and hope that it doesn't impact the rest of your program.

 

Please do let us know the outcome...

 

 

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Joni, eoleson is correct here. As a scout leader, your first and most important responsibility is to the boys - to keep them safe, and to speak out when they are not safe or there is a problem. The allegiance you owe your CC is secondary in this instance. You may owe your CC a head's up that you cannot sit on this any further, but that's about it. You've already said that the CC has had this info for at least a week. Call your CC and tell them to put a call in TODAY to the SE. There's nothing to be gained, and a lot to be lost, by waiting until Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday.

 

Supposing that your CC is an honorable and reasonable person (and of course he is!) then he will get over it and perhaps even thank you, down the road. But adult friendships should not stand in the way of reporting alleged child sexual molestation, and that is what you're dealing with here.

 

And I hate to say this, but while you've said you don't want to play the drama game, think what the DE is now imagining, based on the teaser preview he got from you. He knows something ugly is going to happen but he has no details on what that may be.

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Joni,

 

Have you noticed most of us who are posting to this thread are in violent agreement with each other?

 

DO NOT DELAY FURTHER. CALL YOUR COUNCIL. TALK TO YOUR SE. JUST DO IT, PLEASE!!!

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Yah, I'm all for minimizing the delay here. I wouldn't take any action on the boy's leadership position, though, until you've pulled in da big guns. You want the entire response to this to be tightly managed - nobody in an official position in the unit should be actin' independently. Under no circumstances should another campout occur before you've dealt with this, though.

 

Packsaddle, one of da realities of the BSA structure is that DE's aren't often/usually very experienced in these "high stakes" situations. That's why the materials always direct scouters to report serious incidents directly to the SE. I second the others who have given that advice. Best to make contact directly with the person most able to help.

 

I reckon that's about all we can do to help yeh, Joni4TA, beyond our prayers and moral support. On the upside, hard as it is, when yeh handle a tough situation well you build up a lot of respect and trust in your parent community and in the council.

 

Beavah

 

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Go to the BSA online training site http://olc.scouting.org/ and take the online Youth Protection Training. When you get to the part about your council's child abuse reporting requirements, select your council, download your council's procedures, read them, then FOLLOW THEM.

 

For my council, it reads:

CONTACTING THE COUNCIL

The Boy Scouts requires immediate notification of a Scout Executive whenever information about possible child abuse in the Boy Scout program is uncovered. The current policy for after-hours notifications is to wait until the next business day and call the Scout Office in Raleigh, North Carolina at 919-872-4884. The Scout Executive will ensure that all state reporting requirements have been met and will also take measures to protect the youth in the Scouting movement.

IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL OR CRIMINAL LIABILITY

Any person who, pursuant to the law, reports abuse and neglect or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report is immune from any criminal or civil liability as a result of such action.

PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO REPORT

Any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse or neglect pursuant to the law or to comply with the provisions of the law is a disorderly person and subject to a fine up to $1,000 or up to six months imprisonment, or both.

 

 

So, in my council and state, you MUST report this NOW to the Scout Executive. If you do, you are immune from criminal or civil liability (though some people may be mad at you). If you don't report it, you could be charged with commiting a crime yourself.

 

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Careful there, mtm.

 

Yeh gotta understand that child abuse and neglect is a very specific thing. It only involves actions of a parent or guardian (or in a few states, action of another adult serving in loco parentis for a substantive length of time). In most states, even actions of a scout leader will never be considered child abuse.

 

Youth-on-youth stuff, or SM-on-youth stuff might be battery or rape or all kinds of things, eh? But it is not child abuse or neglect and does not fall under the mandatory reporting requirements. Which also means that if yeh do report, you do not have statutory immunity from a civil cause of action for defamation.

 

And of course, in most states, only certain types of qualified professionals are mandatory reporters even of child abuse, and often under limited circumstances.

 

All this is why it's important to bring in da real pros who understand the system and how to properly navigate it.

 

Doesn't change the answer here... Joni and his/her CC should be talking with da council Scout Executive pronto, and pulling in the major players in the CO no matter how inactive they've been. But I wouldn't particularly recommend going to law enforcement authorities in this case with third-hand information.

 

Beavah

 

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Beavah, Strictly a request for information here. In the current YP Video there is a scenario in which a boy reveals he was abused by a fellow scout while on a campout. Is it your position that the leader to whom this revelation is made should call the SE and SE alone? If one gets the secretary we wait for a call back, if we get voice mail we wait for a call back? We don't talk with the abused boy's parents? We don't alert the authorities in our local area ( where we would expect the predator to be). We don't alert the authorities in the jurisdiction where the alleged crime was committed? Second what do we do if the SE handles the situation as the SE in Grand Teton Council handled it and covers it up?

 Again I am seeking opinion here as I have to present yet another District wide YP class next month. My recommendation has always been; 1.Assure the boy it was not his fault and that you will protect him. 2. Do not let the boy out of your sight until you turn him over to a parent. 3. Explain to the boy that you are going to have to tell others what he has told you, that this is being done for his protection. 4. Contact the local division of your police department which deals with sex crimes. (This to protect other youth that may be at risk from this person right now)  5. Call the SE or number designated by your council. 6. Explain to the parents what the boy has told you and the steps you have taken. 

LongHaul

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Everybody's got an opinion, and it's interesting to compare opinions. When it comes to action, MTM had the right advice: follow the specific instructions of your council.

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My solicitation of Beavah's advice is because he apparently is in some profession which causes him to deal with these type of issues professionally. The things that are posted to council web sites or distributed by councils may well be what they want you to do but no necessarily what the law says you should or must do. When it comes to Risk Management Councils protect National and themselves first. If talking to your SE could open you up to a civil suit for deformation I think the people I am training have a right to know that and I as a trainer have an obligation to tell them that.  If I go against the Council's wishes they take away my membership card, if I go against the law they take away my house and put me in jail.  Hmmm who do I want to test?

LongHaul

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Joni4TA

I am so sorry to hear what you are being put through.

I really think you should call your CC and tell him he needs to report this to the SE and if he will not you will.

I will say a prayer for you and your troop.

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Yah, LongHaul, I was mostly just tryin' to correct some misinformation, not wanting good folks to rely on it.

 

If a boy comes to you and says he was abused by a fellow scout and you have the evidence of his emotional state and other impressions to believe it to be so, yeh should take all reasonable action to protect the boy and assist him in making a report of the crime. I'd say the actions you suggest seem pretty reasonable to me.

 

The real world is just a lot murkier, eh? In this case, there's no boy sittin' there crying saying "I was attacked." There's an oddball adult making accusations based on what on the surface looks like inappropriate contact with youth on her part, with no evidence and no known victim. Dependin' on the state, even if something happened both boys may be above the age of consent. So when dealing with real-world murkiness, yeh call in the people with expertise to help you. That expertise has to be familiar with your state and locality. And yeh should be normally prudent about not repeating accusations against someone yourself.

 

As a YPT trainer, yeh know that the "call the SE" response is only for a kid who is hurt while on a Scouting event. If a SM has a reasonable suspicion that a boy is being abused at home, then he/she should call Children's Services (as either a mandatory or optional reporter), but not the SE. Abuse by parents or custodial adults is "child abuse" under the law, and the immunity statutes apply for a report made to authorities but not necessarily for an accusation made to a third party like the Scout Executive. YPT doesn't make that very clear, does it?

 

That's my problem with BSA YPT and other "short training." It offers procedures (where 95% of the people don't remember the details), but it doesn't provide the reasons and the principles behind those procedures. Those are necessary to help folks understand and remember, and to allow caring adults to make good judgments and decisions.

 

For somethin' like suspicion of an adult-on-youth or youth-on-youth molestation within Scouting, it's proper for a volunteer to call his/her supervisor - the SE and/or COR. Chances are that in your state adult-on-youth molestation is not child abuse. Certainly youth-on-youth isn't. The statutes which require reporting on suspicion and which grant civil immunity for doing so don't apply. It's a "regular" crime. Naturally, if there's clear evidence of a regular crime, we call law enforcement (not Children's Services, although if you call them they will simply connect you with the police). But when yeh just have suspicion of a regular crime, dat's a lot murkier, eh? Accusing somebody of a crime they didn't really commit isn't a good thing, eh?

 

That's why MTM's advice in this case could be a problem for Joni, who really has no evidence at all. And a heck of a lot of real damage can be done by accusing a 16-year-old lad of homosexual battery.

 

So yeh refer the matter to your supervisor(s), the SE and the COR/IH, who are trained, have expertise, can conduct investigations, have access to legal counsel, etc. Let them navigate the shoals, that's why they get paid the big bucks. And that's why YPT says Joni should call the SE.

 

Hope that helps a bit, eh?

 

Beavah

 

Attention: Nothing in the above posting should be considered or relied on as legal advice or recommendation. It is, at best, nothing more than informal education on general principles, as understood by some old fart scouter named Beavah. As the message itself indicates, when in doubt and in any case of this level of seriousness, you should contact an expert within your jurisdiction for professional and/or legal advice.

 

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THANK GOD, I am GLAD I didn't just pick up a phone and start telling what I THOUGHT I knew to the SE!! It would have been a grave mistake and probably ruined a boy's life to boot. :(

 

Understand, the original information I received was, and I quote, "Psycho Female Scouter has made a complaint about something that happened on one of our campouts and supposedly we have 2 gay scouts in our Troop."

 

Then MY MIND went into high speed....

 

Our CC called an emergency meeting prior to the weekend. Scoutmaster, 3 Committee Members, Asst. Scoutmaster - to discuss this.

 

1) The first allegation from Psycho Female Scouter went directly to our CC. Psycho Female said to the CC, "Hey you have 2 gay Scouts in your Troop - what are you going to do about it?" - NOTHING MORE, no names, no specifics, no NOTHING. Our CC did not ask the Psycho any questions, and Psycho didn't offer details.

 

2) The second allegation that ALSO came from Psycho Female Scouter was that Psycho Female brought forth written complaints from a few members, apparently stemming from a campout where there was an argument that ensued between the Scoutmaster and his wife. This took place about 4 months ago. Psycho Scouter solicited information from a couple of our Scout parents, and got their kids to write up statements about the argument, citing how the Scoutmaster's wife was disruptive and how she should be banned from all future campouts.

 

I THANK GOD I had a little patience - I didn't want to just start calling folks at Council, but I would have if it came down to it - I didn't know EXACTLY what the details were, and I apparently mixed up the two issues and made them into one, when they were partially unrelated. The only thing the issues do have in common are that they came from the same person!

 

Both of Psycho Female's "allegations" have already been reported to our DE. In fact, the DE and highers-up have asked our Unit to keep a chronological file on our dealings with Psycho Female, and apprise them of anything that goes down, as soon it happens.

 

I feel TONS better!

 

And our entire Troop's adult leadership are now keeping our eyes and ears WIDE OPEN in case anything further brings up red flags, from any direction, whether it be from allegedly gay Scouts to our friendly neighborhood Psycho Female Scouter/Stalker!

 

Seeing how Psycho Female Scouter has accused our DE of being gay, and now 2 of the Scouts in our Troop - I can't think District/Council looks on this as anything more than rhetoric.

 

Regardless, I am glad I waited to find out the details and didn't just start making phone calls. I can't help but think how disastrous this would have been if I HAD called the SE, not knowing all the facts.

 

Does this mean we do or do not have a gay Scout in our unit? I don't know. I really have no way of knowing FOR CERTAIN unless one of our boys says it's so or behaves in a way that makes it known.

 

Of course if Psycho Female knows more than what she told the CC, maybe we'll be revisiting the situation again.

 

Until then... back to business as usual!

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Maybe I'm just a little paranoid and yes, she could have made the whole thing up.

 

But even a stopped clock is right twice a day...

 

You've already told us that you and a few other adults (and Scouts?) had seen the boy's MySpace page, and coupled with things you state he has personally said, I can't help but wonder if there isn't a more serious situation being dismissed in the rush to deal with the psycho woman.

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Agreed, eoleson.

 

If it's swept under the rug under the auspices of dealing with PFS, and something does indeed ensue, everyone involved can expect to be civily liable for the extreme emotional stress the next victim endures.

 

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There's no rush here to just deal with Psycho Female, though she is a REAL threat to the boys, and to our Unit... there's just nothing for our Troop to go on, based on BSA policy, for hopping down the proverbial witch-hunt trail here. I thought the important thing was that we informed someone right? So the CC did! The CC informed the DE, with exactly what they were told by Psycho Female.

 

So what's left?

 

The boy's parents were informed, too, because we felt it was appropriate to let the parents know about the public MySpace and the inappropriate relationship their son was having with Psycho Female. The boy was told under no circumstances was he allowed to have ANY relationship with PFS. The boy was also told to edit or remove the MySpace page. His parents also told us he is currently in counseling, apparently for unrelated issues, and may be acting out on the MySpace, in an avenue where he felt he could, where he believed there would be no consequences.

 

Shall I insist the boy be removed from Scouting because he had disturbing stuff on his MySpace? After all, is everyone on the internet always completely honest when posting things on the world wide web? Do people always post as completely true and given fact??

 

Do I have grounds to throw a boy out of Scouting based on what I have, or do I really just have a darn good reason to keep a close and watchful eye, and keep communications open?

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