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Pale Horse

Youth Protection - Parent Unwelcome

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Looking for advice and opinions, I'm sure I'll get a shortage of neither.

We had our Pack JSN recently, which a New Parent and Youth attended. The parent is a Doctor who was arrested and charged with performing illegal medical procedures on young girls. Think genital mutilation.  Most of the charges have been dropped, not because the Dr. didn't do what he/she was accused of, but because of federal jurisdiction and legalese...

Needless to say, our current leaders and parents are uneasy with the Dr.'s presence, especially the parents of girls.

What are my options here, and what would you all do?

Yes, I'm in process of contacting my USE/DE and Unit Commissioner.

Edited by Pale Horse

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I assume the situation is that some parents took their daughters to him and he performed the mutilation.  I would ask my COR to prevent him from being leader.   Outside of that I would let his child join the pack.   If he wants to attend events with his child (and is legally allowed to) I wouldn’t stop him.  While I don’t agree with his actions I would not want to punish the child and I don’t see him as a threat to children of parents who would not bring them to him. 

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My advice: welcome him parent and child with open arms.

There are some people who do things out of respect for their culture that we find reprehensible. Their kids still need to grow into loving and caring citizens. They need to abandon their old ways. Or, once legal proceedings have ended and they are free to discuss it, they will need to sit around the campfire and talk it through with people they've grown to trust.

I dare you to be those people.

Note: I'm not suggesting you ask the parent to be a den leader. I am suggesting that you probably have other parents whose behavior right now is far more harmful to their kids and their community.

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1 hour ago, Eagle1993 said:

I assume the situation is that some parents took their daughters to him and he performed the mutilation.  I would ask my COR to prevent him from being leader.   Outside of that I would let his child join the pack.   If he wants to attend events with his child (and is legally allowed to) I wouldn’t stop him.  While I don’t agree with his actions I would not want to punish the child and I don’t see him as a threat to children of parents who would not bring them to him. 

Thanks for your view. Personally, I view FGM as a form of abuse. Just because it's under the guise of a "religious practice" doesn't lesson the impact.  Many of my leaders share this opinion.

We're open to allowing child to join the pack, of course. But were considering to ask that only the Spouse attend.  Curious if you think it'd be ok to allow a parent who's a "former" sexual predator to attend.

Edited by Pale Horse

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13 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

Thanks for your view. Personally, I view FGM as a form of abuse. Just because it's under the guise of a "religious practice" doesn't lesson the impact.  Many of my leaders share this opinion.

We're open to allowing child to join the pack, of course. But were considering to ask that only the Spouse attend.  Curious if you think it'd be ok to allow a parent who's a "former" sexual predator to attend.

And I think permissive sexual ethics are a form of abuse. Hasn't changed my ability to welcome such "abusers" while promoting a restrictive sexual ethic.

What if, it turns out, the spouse is no damn good? And this accused parent was stuck in a cultural vise? They both will stay "stuck" if you all can't bring them into your community and watch each other's kids race a wood block car down a track.

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16 minutes ago, qwazse said:

And I think permissive sexual ethics are a form of abuse. Hasn't changed my ability to welcome such "abusers" while promoting a restrictive sexual ethic.

What if, it turns out, the spouse is no damn good? And this accused parent was stuck in a cultural vise? They both will stay "stuck" if you all can't bring them into your community and watch each other's kids race a wood block car down a track.

Sorry, I'm not following you with "permissive sexual ethics", please clarify.

What this boils down to is, the Dr. abused young children (sexually or otherwise).  You would welcome this person?

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1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

Sorry, I'm not following you with "permissive sexual ethics", please clarify. ...

Put simply, the most vulnerable of our citizens -- our nation's children -- do better on any metric when raised by both biological parents committed to serving each other and only each other sexually and materially in the same home. Everything else is a compromise because the world is a hard place where adults think of themselves first and bringing up children second. Given that so many have compromised the ideal child-rearing, we scouters have had to put up with some really abysmal adults for parents. That said ... we all have also seen some of these same adults manage to redeem themselves in one way or another.

1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

... What this boils down to is, the Dr. abused young children (sexually or otherwise).  You would welcome this person?

I know that you want to apply a categorical label. It's convenient. It makes everyone feel "safe." But it's a big world. And so much of it winds up at our doorstep in a really messed up fashion. This doc might be constantly approached by families who would rather send their children to old-country relatives than let them "suffer" the indignity of "impurity." The resulting harm caused by parental separation, or the severe mutilation, infection and death caused by private "home procedures", might weigh on his/her conscious far more.

This person might be as bad as he/she sounds on paper. But, most likely, predator does not fit as conveniently as you wish it would.

I have welcomed others who seemed vile in my opinion (parents who frequented strip joints, fooled around, heavy drinkers, with anger management issues), and my kids have survived -- and sometimes even learned good things -- from those adults. I have no qualms telling them that I don't trust them to lead a unit. Mrs. Q and I have told a couple that our kids won't be going to their parties on account of nobody watching where the beer is going. But I also have no problems sitting beside them and and watching their kids grow up strong and good.

Why? Because I know whatever lousy examples they've been, and however they may have messed with their kids' heads on account of their own selfishness, they have no intention of doing the same things to my kids. Plus, for whatever reason, they are cool with me being me with their own precious ones in the deep woods.

Also why? Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

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Thank you @qwazse for you measured and compassionate response. I think it encompasses the very tone we need to adopt when dealing with those who have made mistakes and are trying to assimilate themselves into better society. True repentance merits true forgiveness, which is often the harder of the two leaps of faith. 

1 hour ago, qwazse said:

Put simply, the most vulnerable of our citizens -- our nation's children -- do better on any metric when raised by both biological parents committed to serving each other and only each other sexually and materially in the same home. Everything else is a compromise because the world is a hard place where adults think of themselves first and bringing up children second. Given that so many have compromised the ideal child-rearing, we scouters have had to put up with some really abysmal adults for parents. That said ... we all have also seen some of these same adults manage to redeem themselves in one way or another.

This I especially appreciate. So many, so very many of my generation, wish to redefine the concept of parenting to make their own short-sighted or mediocre attempts appear sufficient, and so I have friends and loved ones raising children in broken homes that are now being redefined as 'alternative' or 'diverse' environments, and their children are paying the price. But what happens when somebody who was doing it wrong decides they want to do it right? How do we respond when somebody who has failed chooses to succeed? Do we destroy their options in the name of justice and impede their every attempt to do better and be better, or do we carefully open one door at a time and see how they manage?

It's a hard question. In this particular case, I don't know the man, and couldn't possibly determine the best course of action. But who DOES know this man? Who can truly say whether he means to improve himself or not? You say he wasn't charged because of technicalities in the system. What were those technicalities? If he truly was guilty, why wasn't he charged in the face of the evidence that leads you to be so utterly sure it happened? You seem to have no doubt of his guilt, yet the courts chose not to convince him, and these are crimes not easily ignored, especially in today's judicial climate.

There are so many questions here, you will want to make sure you can answer them all as you proceed to investigate this issue. 

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Ok, I will try to keep this short.  I would admit the child to the program.  There are a couple of issues that are unknown right now in regards to the doctor.  Is the doctor still practicing medicine?  Lost any medical credentials or limited in the profession?  You mention most of the charges are dropped, are some still pending litigation?  If so, the COR should suspend any scouting contact until an outcome is reached.  I don't think this doctor is a registered sexual predator with limits or a conviction.  Until the court decides that, a suspension while charges are pending and warranted, and the unit's treatment of the situation will be judged by many whether silently or publically. 

Regardless of the manner of charges of anyone, an open discussion with the person and COR should happen.  Ideally, the doctor would excuse themselves until the outcome is reached.  I know of many adult leaders that drink heavy (not at events), cuss like a sailor/trucker, and do many "unscoutlike" behaviors.  They are still welcome in their units.  Heck, even parents that get speeding tickets to scouting events (yes it happens) don't get removed.  If we have faith in the system of due process, then let it work.  Since this is cub scouts, we still have time to work with the scout no matter what is decided.

I have seen an accused person in a similar situation, not a sexual type.  After everything was cleared, the person thanked those that treated them with dignity and respect, and had little to say to those that "threw the first stone".  He later told me it was probably more uncomfortable for him as everyone knew, than the adults that felt uncomfortable that thought they knew pieces, but judged.   

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4 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

You say he wasn't charged because of technicalities in the system. What were those technicalities? If he truly was guilty, why wasn't he charged in the face of the evidence that leads you to be so utterly sure it happened? You seem to have no doubt of his guilt, yet the courts chose not to convince him, and these are crimes not easily ignored, especially in today's judicial climate.

 

FGM was illegal because of a Federal Ban on the practice. A federal judge struck down the ban citing Federal Government's lack of jurisdiction in the matter; determining it to be a State issue. That's the sum of it.  I bet you didn't know only 35 States have bans on FGM. I didn't realize that mine is one of those that doesn't.  That means however despicable the act is, it technically isn't illegal, so charges were dropped.

Whether the procedure was done or not isn't in question (it was). Just the dispute on whether it was acceptable.  This isn't a person that's repentant for past actions, but one that's convinced what was done was perfectly acceptable. 

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7 minutes ago, Double Eagle said:

I know of many adult leaders that drink heavy (not at events), cuss like a sailor/trucker, and do many "unscoutlike" behaviors.  They are still welcome in their units.  Heck, even parents that get speeding tickets to scouting events (yes it happens) don't get removed.  If we have faith in the system of due process, then let it work. 

Thanks for your thoughts.  However there's a huge difference between "victimless crimes" like drinking and swearing in one's own home and mutilating an innocent child.

See my previous post. There is no disputing that the FGM occurred, but it's technically not a crime.  I have a hard time getting past that.   Legal or not, it's Child Abuse.

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Well, like I said, I wouldn't dare opine as to what the best course of action should be. Address the matter with your local district and council leadership, and then be a good, vigilant parent and keep your eyes and ears open - but keep your heart open too. I have worked with many troubled families through government education programs (Head Start and others), and I am constantly surprised and often moved by the parents who slowly realize their past mistakes and slowly start to change their perspectives and their lives. It might not be immediate, and he might not seem to care about his actions now - he might even defend them. But for all the caution and boundaries you should of course implement to prevent him doing further harm, so too ought you ensure he at least has the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the community whose trust he has so soundly lost and begin to change if he so desires.

My favorite line from my favorite play - "the quality of mercy is not strained." 

Keep a close watch. Set firm boundaries. Make your feelings clear. Then offer a hand of welcome and see what happens.

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25 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

That means however despicable the act is, it technically isn't illegal, ....

Whether the procedure was done or not isn't in question (it was). Just the dispute on whether it was acceptable.  This isn't a person that's repentant for past actions, but one that's convinced what was done was perfectly acceptable. 

Many people would use the same words to describe doctors that perform elective abortions.  In either case one is making a moral judgement about another persons character.  

So questions. 

Why would you consider allowing the spouse but not the doctor?  Even if the spouse didn't do the procedure how do you know they don't support the practice?

How likely is the doctor or the spouse to make a run to the press with a BSA discriminates story?  Is your CO willing to endure the s***storm that would surround?

Are there other parents/scouts in your pack of similar religious/ethinic background that might find the decision to exclude the doctor troubling?

 

 

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