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25 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

After considering it for a while, Scouting is unique even amid other many other vulnerable activities involving adults and children, before the late 1980's. It occupies different category because of the sheer range of activities that create opportunity. We had/have swimming, overnight camping, hiking, myriad merit badges, boating, fishing, shooting, wilderness excursions, skill awards and on and on. Add to those contexts and opportunities wicked motive, and you have a very bad scenario. Compare that with focused activities like those I mentioned. Priests have limited proximity and opportunity, though many created new contexts. Most extracurriculars are in group settings and, again, with fewer opportunities in remote locations apart from both adults and, in many cases, other children. Again, predators find ways and means. Private lessons. Staying late after practice, and etc. That's what they do. I do think Scouting had an enormous vulnerability and was, therefore, extremely 'attractive' to sexual predators. 

I think that's the crux of it. Scouting was/is unique among other youth activities because of the way it separates a handful of adults in charge of a group of children away from family and community often in remote locations. There were also very few -- maybe no other -- youth activities that routinely included sleepovers away from home. I was in a 4H club that did routinely camp out in either tents, cabins, campers, out in the open, or just under a shed row or in some shed somewhere. However, whatever instruction or interaction with leaders was done during the daylight hours. There was no sitting around a camp fire with them getting sign offs. Once the day's duties were done, we were with our mates and it would have been odd for a leader to have any involvement with us other than to make sure we weren't running amuck. Having also been involved in the Catholic church, the access to youth was indeed as limited as you said and priests or nuns had to create their own opportunities to have access to children outside of CCD or altar practice. 

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What is legally right is not always morally right.

Not sure scandalous conveys the true stupidity that is The Summit.  What was billed as a donation and 4th Crown Jewel is a grossly underused and over developed vanity project.  Basically a development

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5 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

I unequivocally agree. Unfortunately, it is, therefore, the perfect cover for those who have impure motives. It is not only easily explained and justified, but noble. As we all know, or perhaps don't, these people are extremely patient, skillful, instinctual, strategic, and tactical. 

The most tragic legacy of abuse scandals in both the Catholic church and scouts is that truly decent adults who want to reach out and help kids in need now often feel that they can't. Not only can't. Shouldn't. 

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58 minutes ago, yknot said:

I think that's the crux of it. Scouting was/is unique among other youth activities because of the way it separates a handful of adults in charge of a group of children away from family and community often in remote locations. There were also very few -- maybe no other -- youth activities that routinely included sleepovers away from home. 

The closest thing I have seen to scouting is historical reenacting.  We have a large group of middle school and high school Civil War reenactors in our area.  

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1 hour ago, ThenNow said:

I unequivocally agree. Unfortunately, it is, therefore, the perfect cover for those who have impure motives. 

So what do we do?  

I was a Health teacher.  In every unit, the book described the "symptoms" of kids who are "at risk" of various health problems.  The book told us to be aware of these telltale signs. The problem is that the symptoms were always the same.  Unit after unit, they gave the exact same symptoms.  About half way through the unit, the kids would start laughing whenever they read the same warning signs for each new health issue.  It became a classroom joke.

Symptoms and warning signs are useless if they describe everybody.

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6 hours ago, yknot said:

IHaving also been involved in the Catholic church, the access to youth was indeed as limited as you said and priests or nuns had to create their own opportunities to have access to children outside of CCD or altar practice. 

I grew up Catholic also and went thru CCD in the 1970s.  It seems that there was similar opportunity.  For us, we met in the volunteer's apartment.  My parents would drop us off in front of the building and we knew which apartment to go to.  My wife grew up in an evangelical church and there were constant youth ministry activities and things happened.  I agree scouting had probably more opportunity, but other programs had similar issues.

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6 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I grew up Catholic also and went thru CCD in the 1970s.  It seems that there was similar opportunity.  For us, we met in the volunteer's apartment.  My parents would drop us off in front of the building and we knew which apartment to go to.  My wife grew up in an evangelical church and there were constant youth ministry activities and things happened.  I agree scouting had probably more opportunity, but other programs had similar issues.

We can agree to disagree. From a purely objective - add motive to opportunity and access - assessment, no other organization I can think of has as many vulnerabilities as Scouting. Yes, others "had similar issues," but you would have to combine multiple other youth activities to come up with one year's worth of Scouting. To qualify, this is only my personal experience with Scouting, other youth activities as a child/youth and as a parent. I can only share from what I know and what I've considered, so always open to being wrong. I try to avoid falling into my dad's "often wrong, but never in doubt," category, but I'm probably not as successful as I should be. 

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I would add awareness as well. Back in the day, we naturally trusted the Church, Boy Scouts, police. We were not aware as their transgressions were not disclosed by their respective leadership and often not by victims either. Now Little League, Pop Warner (fugetaboutit), and the Y (no pool!, no showers), my father was all over with caution.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

I would add awareness as well. Back in the day, we naturally trusted the Church, Boy Scouts, police. We were not aware as their transgressions were not disclosed by their respective leadership and often not by victims either. Now Little League, Pop Warner (fugetaboutit), and the Y (no pool!, no showers), my father was all over with caution.

 

 

Excellent point.

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14 hours ago, ThenNow said:

I do think Scouting had an enormous vulnerability and was, therefore, extremely 'attractive' to sexual predators.

This is what I never realized until my last round of youth protection training.  I had always thought the predators were simply scout leaders who had that perversion and acted on it.  I never realized that many likely joined scouts with this intent in mind.  I still get chills (disgusted) when I realize this.

I will say, this knowledge really helped me explain to others why we must rigorously enforce barriers to abuse.  I always thought there were two reasons (protecting youth from abuse and protecting adults from false charges).  However, there is a 3rd reason … scaring away any sexual predator from even joining scouts as they see they will not have an opportunity and would be quickly discovered.

One final point, I will say there are definitely abusers who are parents.  I personally know 2 individuals that were sent to prison for child porn.  Both were parents.  In addition, my nephews ASM's husband, not involved in scouting, was caught sexually abusing two little girls he would baby sit.  He was a friend of my father and my dad was clearly in shock.  No one had a clue this could be happening.  I think these serve as a reminder to me that the barriers to abuse must be enforced as you never really know.

My one concern is that we overcorrect.  I do not want any child abused; however, I also want youth to have opportunities I believe can mold them into strong adults.  I am concerned that over litigation could drive many youth organizations out of business.  If there are real gaps that could lead to abuse, they should be addressed.  What I would like to avoid is changes that do not necessarily make the program safer, but are simply added to prevent litigation.

 

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20 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

I will say, this knowledge really helped me explain to others why we must rigorously enforce barriers to abuse.  I always thought there were two reasons (protecting youth from abuse and protecting adults from false charges).  However, there is a 3rd reason … scaring away any sexual predator from even joining scouts as they see they will not have an opportunity and would be quickly discovered.

You are exactly on point. It seems people don't think much about that, instead focusing on the other two. It is an absolutely critical piece. Further, deterence by virtue of locking the doors and being on high alert isn't completely effective without repercussions. If someone does manage to pass through undetected and commit a crime of abuse, it must be met with the other side of deterence - grave consequences. 

There is a reason you see surveillance cameras next to statements to the effect that, "Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law." From my reading of massive amounts of data and history, down to reading 50 year-old individual reports from parents to Scout Leaders to Troops to Local Councils and then to local police, the failure to prosecute was equally as destructive as was inadequate vetting and training. Vetting only goes so far if someone has not been caught or credibly accused before they apply. Knowing that previous perpetrators have been aggressively prosecuted, sued and publicly disclosed, is a powerful weapon in combatting child abuse. Is it enough on its own? No. Is a multi-pronged approach to background check, train, enforce rigorous requirements of 2 adults person, and etc., coupled with prosecution a worthy adversary against would be perpetrators? Absolutely. A complete program to protect and deter has to include prosecution and public disclosure. And, it has to be swift and decisive. That requires empowering kids and youth to know what is right, wrong and how to have a voice. No easy task. In fact, it may be the most difficult thing in the moment, especially knowing that boys abused by men often don't report for years after the abuse. Over-reporting and false accusations are possible, but less likely in the context of child sexual abuse than other crimes. (Per the data I've reviewed.) 

If I were in charge, I would include in the training process a summary of law enforcement and legal processes in the case of an accusation. Leaders should know what is involved, as should parents, to my thinking. Because most people 'know' what they know about law and the judicial system from what they see on television, it is neither accurate nor helpful in a real world situation. In fact, it's counterproductive. 

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5 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

The bankruptcy and related civil litigation does not preclude any victim from filing against the individual perpetrator. They just don't have as deep of a pocket to go after.

Indeed. However, large number of current Chapter 11 claimants live in states that have not yet adopted the Victims Rights Act. Without that statutory change, allowing a 'look back' suspension of retrospective statutes of limitations that currently bar such actions, whether civil or criminal, they have no legal recourse. Under the VRA, survivors would be able to pursue claims against their abuser, as well as any Local Councils and Chartering Organizations that do not participate in funding the Victims' Compensation Trust to gain future protection and release of past claims.  

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6 hours ago, DuctTape said:

The bankruptcy and related civil litigation does not preclude any victim from filing against the individual perpetrator. They just don't have as deep of a pocket to go after.

As a Scout in the 60s and 70s, my leaders are long dead.  I suspect in many cases, the only recourse is to go after the institution.  I would be interested to know how they go about proving the validity of a claim.

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As a Scout from 1954-1961, I know all the Scouters in my unit when I was a Scout are deceased.  All were WW II veterans.  There is a reason for statutes of limitations, assuming the accused have a right to defend claims made against them.  

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The vast majority of claims -- 85% -- have been filed by men aged mid forties to 50s, so many of the perpetrators as well as potential corroborating witnesses are likely still alive. An additional small percentage of claims have been filed by people younger than mid forties, so perhaps 90% may be subject to to some kind of reasonable validation. I don't know the specifics of how this assessment will be conducted, but in other situations things such as case clustering in time and or location could be considered as somewhat corroborating. My question though has been whether or how any perpetrators identified will be held individually accountable through this process. 

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