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Permanent Expulsion From Scouting Under Standards Of Membership And Leadership

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I have only read about one person being reinstated.  He was removed for going into a bar in uniform. Reason he went into the bar in uniform was the Scout Bus broke down, and the bar was the closest place he walked to that had a phone to call a tow truck and contact parents. He followed the appeals process and got back months later.

The people I know who have been removed have never been reinstated, including the one where the criminal investigation cleared the person of wrongdoing,  and even found evidence to support her story of events.

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The membership standards department is responsible for ensuring that youth in the program are safe and that the integrity of the BSA program is maintained. They are housed in Irving, Texas at the end of a long hallway behind closed door and a soundproofed wall I am told.  The review team has a reputation of being very competent and professional from individuals who have worked with them.

If there is a "credible allegation" made, membership can be revoked. The BSA has chosen to err on the side of caution, so persons may have membership terminated on the basis of an allegation that has little supporting documentation.  The individual is sent a letter through their council office stating that their membership has been revoked along with a very nonspecific reason. They are also informed that there is an appeal and review process.  The individual is requested to provide documentation supporting the reason for their reinstatement. In some cases a teleconference is held to further discuss the allegation. This often is a very prolonged process. 

Yes, people have had their membership restored when the review concludes that standards have not been violated. The review team will make a recommendation and there is a "signoff" process with the local council executive.

In some instances, individuals have challenged their membership revocation in court. Courts have generally upheld that the BSA as a private organization can set their own membership standards and control the process. However, they have also stated that due process must be available.  Nevertheless, that is a difficult route to go not only because of the costs but also due to the fact that the court filing becomes a very public proceeding.

Now, however, the bankruptcy claims process has created a very unique and frustrating situation for many Scouters  past and present.

Remember that the claims are allegations,  not proven fact. And that the Court cautioned that there would be fraudulent or frivolous claims among the legitimate claims. In speaking to persons who have reviewed claims, they have stated that there are clearly claims where no abuse or violation of youth protection standards at the time were violated.  Nevertheless, membership revocation was automatically triggered.

For Scouters named in a claim, their membership was immediately revoked without any significant vetting or attempts to  verify claims. They received  a telephone call from the local Scout executive (at the discretion of the council) along with a certified form letter processed through the council. They were only told that they were named in a claim in a particular decade. No information was shared on the details of the claim,  location, etc., due to confidentiality agreements. They were informed that law enforcement would be notified and there was an appeal process . They could provide documentation for review. Which may be somewhat difficult when you are not given any details of the claim.  In addition, the head of the sponsoring institution, the chartered organization representative and the unit committee chairpersons are also sent copies of the membership revocation letter.

For those who have appealed, they have discovered that there is no appeal process available at the present time to review the membership revocation which has occurred through the bankruptcy process. So, you can imagine the frustration.

I have spoken to several people caught in this situation. Potentially hundreds if not thousands of Scouters are faced with being in Scouting limbo or purgatory with no route for resolution of their membership status in sight. 



Edited by gpurlee
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  • 2 weeks later...

At one time, and perhaps to this day, the BSA publication, "Standards Of Membership And Leadership" was a publication restricted to distribution to professional (senior?) staff only.

So, I ask, why would that be?

And, does anyone have a copy they can post?

(And, perhaps the provisions in that publication bear on the issue of BSA's alleged negligence in dealing with sex abuse claims.)

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