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Hudson Valley Council ignores BSA Youth Protection Policy

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Deja vu all over again! Council did not report the 2014 abuse incident to police.

 

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/investigations/2016/09/03/boy-scout-leaders-never-reported-abuse/84747944/

 

The Boy Scouts of America Hudson Valley Council knew that two Dutchess County Boy Scouts may have been abused by a leader, but didn’t tell police.

 

And, they weren’t legally required to. (New York)

...

 

Volunteers are mandated by the Boy Scouts of America to report claims of sexual abuse “immediately†to local authorities, according to the organization's website. But, two months before one Dutchess County scout told his mother that he had been abused on a camping trip in August 2014 by an assistant scoutmaster, Salt Point's Michael Kelsey, he confided in a different scoutmaster during a hiking trip in October 2014, according to testimony made during Kelsey's trial this past May.

 

Though the Boy Scouts of America took action against Kelsey, removing him from the organization, it did not alert police. According to state police Senior Investigator Timothy Peets: "The Boy Scout organization never reported anything until after they were confronted by the parents of the victims."

 

A representative from the national organization declined to answer why it didn't follow its own policy. David Horton, the CEO of the organization's Hudson Valley Council, did not respond to attempts to seek comment via phone or email.

 

After the boy's mother contacted police, Kelsey was arrested, tried and convicted on five charges related to sexual abuse of two scouts. His sentencing is scheduled for October.

 

More details with stonewalling and double-talk in the link above.

 

How could this happen again?

 

P.S. According to the Hudson Valley Council website David Horton is still the Scout Executive.

Edited by RememberSchiff

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Deja vu all over again! Council did not report the 2014 abuse incident to police.

 

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/investigations/2016/09/03/boy-scout-leaders-never-reported-abuse/84747944/

 

The Boy Scouts of America Hudson Valley Council knew that two Dutchess County Boy Scouts may have been abused by a leader, but didn’t tell police.

 

And, they weren’t legally required to. (New York)

...

 

Volunteers are mandated by the Boy Scouts of America to report claims of sexual abuse “immediately†to local authorities, according to the organization's website. But, two months before one Dutchess County scout told his mother that he had been abused on a camping trip in August 2014 by an assistant scoutmaster, Salt Point's Michael Kelsey, he confided in a different scoutmaster during a hiking trip in October 2014, according to testimony made during Kelsey's trial this past May.

 

Though the Boy Scouts of America took action against Kelsey, removing him from the organization, it did not alert police. According to state police Senior Investigator Timothy Peets: "The Boy Scout organization never reported anything until after they were confronted by the parents of the victims."

 

A representative from the national organization declined to answer why it didn't follow its own policy. David Horton, the CEO of the organization's Hudson Valley Council, did not respond to attempts to seek comment via phone or email.

 

After the boy's mother contacted police, Kelsey was arrested, tried and convicted on five charges related to sexual abuse of two scouts. His sentencing is scheduled for October.

 

More details with stonewalling and double-talk in the link above.

 

How could this happen again?

 

P.S. According to the Hudson Valley Council website David Horton is still the Scout Executive.

 

Makes no sense at all.  From what I've read (not all the evidence, I know), Mr. Horton should no  longer be working for BSA. He did nothing criminally wrong (he wasn't a mandatory reporter per NY law), but he made YP useless. I'm also wondering about the other ASMs and the SM in the troop that Kelsey was a part of.  I know as an ASM, I'm reporting any ASM that is sleeping in a car with anybody but his sons. 

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Makes no sense at all.  From what I've read (not all the evidence, I know), Mr. Horton should no  longer be working for BSA. He did nothing criminally wrong (he wasn't a mandatory reporter per NY law), but he made YP useless. I'm also wondering about the other ASMs and the SM in the troop that Kelsey was a part of.  I know as an ASM, I'm reporting any ASM that is sleeping in a car with anybody but his sons. 

I agree. Whatever an SE may or may not do. The SM two whom this guy confided was make two phone calls, one to council, the other to the police.

However, the skill of a perpetrator is in finding a confidant who will not follow the rules.

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I agree. Whatever an SE may or may not do. The SM two whom this guy confided was make two phone calls, one to council, the other to the police.

However, the skill of a perpetrator is in finding a confidant who will not follow the rules.

It was not the wrongdoing ASM who "confided" in the SM, it was the Scout who confided in the SM.

 

It is an easy mistake to make, because the sentence containing this information is not written very well. But I think it is clear that the "he" who confided was the Scout. I think we need to be very careful in discussions like this. Since it says "different scoutmaster" we don't actually know whether the person was "the" SM or another ASM. The media generally do not make these distinctions. But the point is that you have implied something about a person who is probably very easily identifiable in the troop, and the implication is based on a misreading of the article.

 

All I'm saying is, let's not make a bad situation worse by implying things for which there is no evidence. And also let's not jump to too many conclusions based on an article that isn't very good. For example, this article does not really tell me who was the first person to report this to council, either the "different scoutmaster" (who learned of it 2 months after it happened) or the mother (who learned of it 4 months after it happened.) That seems like important information.

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Thanks for the correction in my parsing of the article.

 

I'm not sure if it makes matters better or worse if the antecedent of "he" was the victim or the perpetrator.

The other SM/ASM should have called the authorities in addition to his SE. Either he blew it, or there's more to the story.

 

I've had some pretty good SE's in my council. Good enough to become CSE's. But there is no way, after taking that YP quiz for i-don't-know-how-many-times and reviewing similar material in other organizations, that I'd count on them making that call for me.

 

I'm also not saying that the SM who reported was corrupt. He may have heard back from HQ "Thank you, we'll take it from here." And simply forgot in the face of a stressful situation that he had more to do. Training gets thrown out the window easily enough when times are tough. He counted on his council (1st wrong) and council did the bare minimum (2nd wrong).

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Yah, hmmm....

 

This is a piece of legislative-advocacy journalism.

 

More smoke than fire, I reckon.   The report says da SE made a statement published in the newspaper way back in 2014 that reported the ASMs behavior at some length.  Hard to imagine that he didn't notify law enforcement at the time unless he was aware da parents already had made that notification.  Or the local prosecutor could just read his morning newspaper, eh?  Certainly they seem to have begun pursuin' a case right away.

 

Da only real question is the ASM who received the initial report from the lad.  Given the close timing, it may easily be that he reported to da SE, SM, COR, etc.  and that things were in process at various levels.  Hard to say.  He may also have decided a guy who is asleep whose arm brushes against a sleeping boy's fully clothed groin hasn't done anything wrong.  Da reality is that these sorts of allegations in real life take folks by surprise, usually come across as a bit ambiguous, and involve adults whom we trust and are friends with.   Unless a person is a professional who has experience in da area, it's a lot to work through.  

 

I'm not convinced that da right answer is to criminalize that volunteer.

 

Generally speakin' for that reason I'm not hugely fond of makin' non-professionals mandatory reporters.   Doctors, nurses, school teachers and others with professional trainin' and state licensure strikes the right balance.  Their reports as professionals can be relied on by law enforcement not to be capricious, and we have some rationale for holdin' 'em to criminal penalties for a failure to do their professional duty.

 

When we make every untrained Tom, Dick, and Harriet a mandatory reporter yeh get da Nosy Neighbor reportin' people for lettin' their kid stand in the rain at the bus stop for 5 minutes.  It's a waste of resources at best, a severe disruption of healthy families at worst.   Yeh also criminalize otherwise decent and well-meaning people who are just caught in da ambiguity of many of these cases.

 

Beavah

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Read the Poughkeepsie article - keeping in mind that I really dislike the media, a prime example of why I dislike the media can be found here - the reporter quotes the policy from the website but gets it wrong - she uses the term Law Enforcement - the policy uses the term Local Authorities.   So she's using quotes on something she has paraphrased.  Granted, that's not the point of the story but it's sloppy and should be pointed out. 

 

That brings up an important point though - changing those words from local authorities to law enforcement changes the meaning of the sentence.  Something to consider before we get all righteous and start calling for the SM's (or whomever the other leader was that the boy talked too) head and for the SE's head - what does the term "local authority" actually mean?  Not what do we think it means (ie law enforcement) but what does it mean?  Depending on context, it could mean the mayor and/or city council.  It could mean the fire department,  It could mean the park district (if you see a fallen tree in the park, report it to the local authorities - are you going to report it to the police or to the park district?).  It could be the head librarian.  In this case, it could mean report it to the local BSA council (and not to National).  If you're in a state where BSA volunteers aren't mandatory reporters, it's not unusual to hear from Council staff that reporting should be to them. 

 

This adult leader reported to the local council authority.  Council reported it up the chain and the BSA removed the guy from Scouting.  Like it or not, that is exactly how the BSA system is designed to work.  But, it does remind us once again of the flaws in the BSA's processes.  I think we can all agree that if there is cause to remove a Scouter for this, then there is cause for the BSA to report to law enforcement, even in states where they aren't mandatory reporters.

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I read through a bunch of articles, and although it's not entirely clear, it appears that the other scout leader that the boys confided in helped them to eventually report to the police:

 

"...he had a sleepover with several of his friends and said he learned he wasn’t the only one that had allegedly been touched by Kelsey during that trip. The two boys made a plan and spoke to a Scout leader they both trusted which set the ball in motion to involve the police, the teen said." http://www.registerstar.com/news/article_0ba79faa-115a-11e6-8fa3-7f4507b3a3f7.html

 

But the SE did not report to the police: "Though the Boy Scouts of America took action against Kelsey, removing him from the organization, it did not alert police. According to state police Senior Investigator Timothy Peets: "The Boy Scout organization never reported anything until after they were confronted by the parents of the victims."  

 

The gap in the law that the original article points out does look like a flaw.  Lots of mandatory reporters, but only if the abuse is committed by a parent or similar figure.  

 

I don't think volunteers should become mandatory reporters, but professionals are a tougher call.  It's rare that they're going to have any direct knowledge of abuse or have any ability to judge the veracity of the allegations.  Do we want to make it a crime to not report once or twice removed hearsay?

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Child abuse of any sort should always be confronted and  never be ignored.  

If someone (Scout, parent, whomever ) witnesses or hears of such or is the abused party, and they report that to the Scout authorities,  on what basis do the BSA folks make their judgement, and it is a judgement?   I would hope there would be an extensive investigation.  I feel the idea is not to tar the person with too large a brush, for fear of being sued for defamation of character (?) 

Now, if the allegations are reported to the legal authorities, then , if the person is indeed found guilty in court of the charges....

 

Coming up, here in Alexandria VA, , ( this is how it is listed in our local eNews)  the BSA sponsored

    National Youth Protection  Symposium  Discussion, workshops, networking,  latest information and training on Youth Protection. 
Anyone, any organization that deals with young people is invited to attend. 
**Share with your Scout Unit, House of Worship, School, etc. 
What:  Symposium on threats to our young people.
When:  12 – 14 October, 2016
Where:   Sheraton Suites  Hotel,   Old Town Alexandria, VA.
What:   Discussions, workshops, information, networking.
Why :  Because we love our kids. Because we want to recognize the unthinkable.
How Do & How Much:  See website:    http://www.nationalyouthprotectionsymposium.org/    
Check for updates and listing of featured speakers.

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It was not the wrongdoing ASM who "confided" in the SM, it was the Scout who confided in the SM.

 

It is an easy mistake to make, because the sentence containing this information is not written very well. But I think it is clear that the "he" who confided was the Scout. I think we need to be very careful in discussions like this. Since it says "different scoutmaster" we don't actually know whether the person was "the" SM or another ASM. The media generally do not make these distinctions. But the point is that you have implied something about a person who is probably very easily identifiable in the troop, and the implication is based on a misreading of the article.

 

All I'm saying is, let's not make a bad situation worse by implying things for which there is no evidence. And also let's not jump to too many conclusions based on an article that isn't very good. For example, this article does not really tell me who was the first person to report this to council, either the "different scoutmaster" (who learned of it 2 months after it happened) or the mother (who learned of it 4 months after it happened.) That seems like important information.

 

My point is that it seems there were actions done (presumably in front of other ASMs or the SM) that would have caused me to report immediately. If an ASM is sleeping in a vehicle with a scout that isn't his/her son, as an ASM, I'm telling the Council.  I feel that's one of the main reason that I'm an ASM, which is to keep the boys safe.  Somebody knew besides the boy, that something fishy was going on. If not, then two deep protection was not in place. 

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I read through a bunch of articles, and although it's not entirely clear, it appears that the other scout leader that the boys confided in helped them to eventually report to the police:

 

"...he had a sleepover with several of his friends and said he learned he wasn’t the only one that had allegedly been touched by Kelsey during that trip. The two boys made a plan and spoke to a Scout leader they both trusted which set the ball in motion to involve the police, the teen said." http://www.registerstar.com/news/article_0ba79faa-115a-11e6-8fa3-7f4507b3a3f7.html

 

But the SE did not report to the police: "Though the Boy Scouts of America took action against Kelsey, removing him from the organization, it did not alert police. According to state police Senior Investigator Timothy Peets: "The Boy Scout organization never reported anything until after they were confronted by the parents of the victims."  

 

The gap in the law that the original article points out does look like a flaw.  Lots of mandatory reporters, but only if the abuse is committed by a parent or similar figure.  

 

I don't think volunteers should become mandatory reporters, but professionals are a tougher call.  It's rare that they're going to have any direct knowledge of abuse or have any ability to judge the veracity of the allegations.  Do we want to make it a crime to not report once or twice removed hearsay?

IMHO, Scouting professionals should be mandatory reporters, if not by law, then by BSA policy.  Every misstep like this hurts Scouting wherever the news article reaches. 

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Let's take one step back from charging anybody except the perpetrator with a crime.

 

... I'm not convinced that da right answer is to criminalize that volunteer. ...

 

Part of my last lifeguard training was watching videos of a kid drowning to death in pool fully staffed with guards who had succumbed to distractions. None of those guards were charged with criminal negligence. I believe the family of the child waived their right to civil charges on condition that the security videos would be made public for training purposes.

 

However, each of those guards knows they let the trivial events of the day overwhelm their ability to make sure each swimmer was safe and healthy. They dropped the ball.

 

Likewise, you can legislate until you are blue in the face about pro's being mandatory reporters. But, it's the volunteers calling the public authorities (which the story that @@T2Eagle found indicates that's what happens) that insures the maximum resources are delivered in the minimum amount of time. If that happens, what council does or does not do is rendered moot.

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Taking care of others kinda falls into the "helping people at all times" scenario, but that's just my opinion, not everyone's it would seem.

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This is exactly why we have two deep leadership at all times!

 

Any report by any child should be taken seriously and investigated by police (not BSA).

You should always believe the child and report, and let law enforcement figure it out.

 

And if the leaders are following two deep leadership rules then the second leader can verify

That the adult is innocent. If you are alone with the scouts and one accuses you of something

Then you aren't following the rules and its your head...

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No one-on-one is the rule.  Two Deep is just two adults on the outing.

 

It has been known that adults were accused of child abuse and it turned out they were undeniably innocent.  Some times those undeniable "turns out" were after conviction in a court (AKA "judicial lynching")

But that is why professionals need to be involved ASAP.  Presumably, they are more competent to gather evidence.

 

Perhaps a good operating assumption is the "local authorities" in the context of alleged child abuse are the authorities whom the law gives the duty to investigate child abuse.  That would be a question of state law.

Edited by TAHAWK

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