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Upon consideration, my gut says that these system-wide traces of YP statistics will disappoint. Whatever number comes out of them, it will either be deemed an under- or over-count, and their interpretation will be debatable. Most importantly, there's no control sample. But, equally important, there will be multiple sources of reporting bias.

If the goal is to benchmark how well a program is being implemented and how safe kids are, we would do better with independent research using de-identified random sample surveys of scouts and alumni. Such controlled research will have power to actually nail down the rate of YP violations or CSA by asking tough questions, like:

  • How frequently do scouts recall being 1-on-1 with leaders?
  • How often have scouts experienced CSA? Was the perpertrator an youth, adult, relative, elder? Were they in scouting? In school? Some other venue?
  • How often do scouts report CSA? How long after an incident do they take to report it? To whom do they report it?

Similar questions could be asked of scouters.

It's critical to get good data that can be compared to national norms. Otherwise, someone could claim their new YP program is working wonders when it's merely an artifact of national trends. E.g. the CDC's 2019 stats show CSA prevalence in males is down to 3.4%; and in females 11.1% (https://yrbs-explorer.services.cdc.gov/#/graphs?questionCode=H19&topicCode=C01&location=XX&year=2019 ). The 2021 survey will be especially interesting.

But, beyond national norms, it's critical to answer questions of YP compliance and how that may correlate with CSA prevalence reduction. Until now, we (not just BSA, lots of youth-facing organizations) presumed that it did.

This involves spending real $s for independent auditors who will guarantee methods and results will be published (and ultimately, peer-reviewed).

A really well-executed survey may eventually fund itself as other organizations might want to purchase the same bench-marking service.

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OK, I hid a couple of comments that I felt were a bit too descriptive for an open Scouting forum.  While they may be historically accurate, they felt a bit uncomfortable for me. I have asked the other

I work with several national staff and national OA on a regular basis, I can guarantee they would want to know and it would cause an immediate reaction, particularly given the current headlines regard

Turning a blind eye? That is more than a little insulting to people who care about scouting and scouts and are trying to make sure things are done right.  And you become indignant toward peopl

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5 minutes ago, qwazse said:

....asking tough questions, like:

  • How frequently do scouts recall being 1-on-1 with leaders?
  • How often have scouts experienced CSA? Was the perpertrator an youth, adult, relative, elder? Were they in scouting? In school? Some other venue?
  • How often do scouts report CSA? How long after an incident do they take to report it? To whom do they report it?

Similar questions could be asked of scouters.

I would add a few things.

I am not exactly sure how the wording should go, but a yearly youth survey to see if grooming tactics are being used, and a survey of adults to see if they are noticing any YP violations are occurring, even minor ones, even if they have not lead to CSA.

Furthermore, I really wish BSA would support self-defense training. I have had Scouters wince when I have shared what I have taught my children, but I have no intentions of letting them grow up without knowing how to defend against assault, sexual or otherwise. 

Predators look for the easiest prey. I think it a good idea to help children look less like prey, and failing that what do do when the predator comes for them. 

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2 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

I am not exactly sure how the wording should go, but a yearly youth survey to see if grooming tactics are being used, and a survey of adults to see if they are noticing any YP violations are occurring, even minor ones, even if they have not lead to CSA.

 

I said I would keep my yap shut and go back to lurking, but I changed my mind. As a BSA victim who experienced “expert” grooming over a span of every year I was in Scouting, this is a very good point. Hire me to draft the survey. Seriously. A team of us would be the best resource, under the guidance of a psychologist and the appropriate (supporting) BSA leaders and probably an attorney. 

2 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Furthermore, I really wish BSA would support self-defense training. I have had Scouters wince when I have shared what I have taught my children, but I have no intentions of letting them grow up without knowing how to defend against assault, sexual or otherwise. 

Same. As above, I was a clear target. 10 years old. Father was very distant, stoic, a victim himself and unavailable. My only defenses were flight (didn’t know how), flight (hard to get too far in the most remote campsite on the Reservation with a powerful, charismatic leader watching you), freeze (my default and remaining option) and forget (which I proved to be capable of with great aplomb).

2 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Predators look for the easiest prey. I think it a good idea to help children look less like prey, and failing that what do do when the predator comes for them.

See above.

I also tried to quote from the discussion on how the guy slipped through the proverbial YPT crack(s). The glaring point that was impressed upon me from this recounting is his voracious appetite to repeat this behavior, hide his past and find new, familiar hunting grounds. Frightening how these monsters roll.

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One of my criticisms of the YP training material is that they spent as much time as they did getting experts and victims to tell us CSA is a problem and not nearly enough time discussing grooming techniques and other standard methods to be aware of.  I had never heard of grooming up until I saw the training the first time and I have to think my experience with it is pretty typical.  I would willingly exchange 1 or 2 minutes of telling me how bad it is to rape kids (Duh!) for 10-15 minutes of more detail on warning signs, common MOs and demonstrations of things like what "boundary testing" might look like.

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13 minutes ago, elitts said:

One of my criticisms of the YP training material is that they spent as much time as they did getting experts and victims to tell us CSA is a problem and not nearly enough time discussing grooming techniques and other standard methods to be aware of.  I had never heard of grooming up until I saw the training the first time and I have to think my experience with it is pretty typical.  I would willingly exchange 1 or 2 minutes of telling me how bad it is to rape kids (Duh!) for 10-15 minutes of more detail on warning signs, common MOs and demonstrations of things like what "boundary testing" might look like.

It is also a fine line on how the subject is handled. Venturing used to have a video (I think its been retired) that the youth had to watch. They hated it, it creeped them out. They felt it was inappropriate for them to be watching.  The trick is teaching them without getting that reaction. 

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Some thoughts.  The TCC, if/when it can present a plan needs to set a foundation for the future and not try to solve every problem that exists today with today's standards.  A good risk management plan does that but also has built-in review and evaluation as an internal feedback loop to create an environment of change as laws, policies and best practices change.  In teh case of teh BSA a CRITICAL part of any YP change MUST be a regular practice of transparency with the public.  You want your sainted congressional charter?  Prove to the public that you deserve it and allow the public representatives to judge that on behalf of the people who elected them.  The TCC must demand a process that will allow an independant body to retain the BEST expert(s) available to evaluate practices, successes and failires, and make recomendations.  ALL work must be public.  The BSA is responsible for its own operation but MUST report on the recomendations to be enacted and as importantly the rationale for the ones taht are not.  Further, ANUALLY there must be public reporting of YP performance that is audited and certified as accurate by a third-party.  The days of secrets and public mistrust MUST end.  Whether you believe that all CSA can be prevented or not the BSA owes a responsibility to the public NOW and especially in the future to make clear its performance and that it is conforming to the best standards of the day.  Like I said, I'd be surprised if the nine Survivors on the TCC would come up with a laundry list of what works today and think that's good enough.  All of the preceding said, some comments in BOLD from the disclosure statement....

 

28. Non-Monetary Commitments

The Debtors shall take the following actions to promote healing and reconciliation and to continue the Debtors’ efforts to prevent Abuse from occurring in Scouting in the future:

a.      The Debtors shall form a committee (the “Child Protection Committee”) of members from the BSA, Local Councils, the Tort Claimants’ Committee, and the Coalition (including survivors). The functions of the Child Protection Committee include the following:

NO mention of numbers of members.  Coalition members “include” survivors but don’t have to be?

(i) No later than six months after the Effective Date, the BSA will present to the Committee on the BSA’s current Youth Protection Program (the “Youth Protection Program”). The BSA will report to the Child Protection Committee regarding the Youth Protection Program and any changes thereto on an annual basis for a period of three years following the Effective Date.   NO mention of when this will happen other than annually.  The BIGGEST sin though is that this reporting of changes (only?) is to continue for THREE YEARS ONLY.  What is the lifespan of this Committee?

(ii) Following that presentation, the BSA and Child Protection Committee will work with an entity engaged by the BSA that is selected with the consultation of the Child Protection Committee that is not currently affiliated with the BSA to evaluate the Youth Protection Program (the “Evaluating Entity”). The Evaluating Entity will have expertise in the prevention of youth sexual abuse.  “In consultation” with the Committee but not expressly with their agreement only?

(A) Any evaluation will be comprehensive in nature and include input from current BSA volunteers and professionals, survivors of sexual abuse while involved with Scouting, the members of the Child Protection Committee, and the Evaluating Entity.

(B) The Evaluating Entity will report to the Child Protection Committee assessing the current Youth Protection Program and make specific recommendations for reasonable improvements to the Youth Protection Program that may include mechanisms for the elimination of abuse and accurate and annual reporting regarding the results of the Youth Protection Program, including confirmed instances of sexual abuse that is made available to the public (the “Prospective Reporting”).  This notes “may include” but does not expressly require annual reporting.  It is all “recommendations” of course

(C) The BSA will engage with the Evaluating Entity, and the Child Protection Committee, and will take appropriate steps as necessary to improve the Program. Changes to the Youth Protection Program will be reported on the BSA’s Youth Protection Program website and training will be reasonably adjusted to reflect changes.   NO mention is made of the abuse reporting ANNUALLY for public viewing.

(iii) The BSA will propose and the Child Protection Committee will consider a protocol for the review and publication of information in the Volunteer Screening Database and the Prospective Reporting, which will take into account factors including: (i) the desire to make public credibly identified perpetrators of sexual abuse in Scouting; (ii) adequate protections for survivor identities; (iii) consideration regarding the protection of third parties, including survivor family members and volunteers; (iv) a notification process regarding any publication; (v) issues related to privacy and liability related to publication; and (vi) the potential appointment or retention of an appropriate neutral party to supervise the evaluation and review of the Volunteer Screening Database (the “Neutral Supervisor”). If the BSA and Child Protection Committee are unable to reach an agreement on the above protocol, the Neutral Supervisor shall mediate the dispute to resolution. In accordance with the process outlined above, information from the Volunteer Screening Database and Prospective Reporting shall be published annually after agreement among the parties or determination by the Neutral Supervisor.  

(iv) After consultation and recommendations from the Evaluating Entity, the Child Protection Committee may propose and the BSA will in good faith consider other issues relating to child protection, including: (i) special BSA Scouting programs for survivors; and (ii) participation and leadership in a comprehensive reporting program to include other youth-serving organizations.

The BSA is trying to tie itself to other "youth-serving organizations" for cover.  "They do it so we do it too."  The BSA is unique in its programs so tying standards for behavior to an organization that doesn't regularly include overnight travel, for example, is a red-herring.

(v) The BSA will engage with the Child Protection Committee and consider all appropriate measures proposed by the Child Protection Committee to improve transparency and accountability with respect to any future instances of sexual abuse, including the dissemination of information relating to abuse statistics, consistent with practices of other youth-serving organizations, including what information may be publically available on the BSA’s website.

      “….will consider” and “consistent with practices” is VERY weak.  This guarantees nothing let alone does not define the “practices.”

The BSA has had 18 months post-bankruptcy, and how many in preperation of, and this is the best it can do?  How is this convincing the public it wants to seriously address the problem?  If teh answer is "They didn't want to do too much in case it was seen as an admission of guilt" well, that cat's out of the bag or it wouldn't want permanent injunctions AND it's still serving children NOW.  Shameful.

 

 

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On 10/1/2021 at 11:18 AM, MikeS72 said:

Considering that we usually only have one professional staff person (DE) per district, it kind of falls to the CO (or unit) to do this.  I am sure that while some CO's and units take this seriously, many just sign the adult app and depend on it not getting kicked back during the background check.

Again, with that one DE in most instances, it is nearly impossible to meet with all volunteer on a monthly basis.  We do see our DE at most of our Roundtables, but since attendance at Roundtable is not mandatory, there are, as you state, many volunteers who have never met a professional.  I really wish that there was a way to mandate all direct contact volunteer attend a minimum number of Roundtables during the year, at least one of which would be dedicated solely to YPT and how to implement it correctly.

I would support adding a social media disclosure form to the application process.  Just like those people who say 'I changed my mind' about registering after being given the CBC form to sign, anyone who objects to someone seeing what they post on social media has a reason for doing so.  I know that toward the end of my 4 decade career in education, we looked at social media before even interviewing applicants.  In Scouting, I have occasionally come across the social media accounts of some of our parents, and have been more than a little disturbed by some of what I saw.

I've attended, and help lead in various capacities, Roundtables for many years. Some might say that if Roundtables had info that helped units day in & day out, you wouldn't have to mandate attendance. Leaders would come of their own accord because the info would relevant & useful. I don't think mandating RT attendance is the way to go.

Many would not want to share their social media info. You are correct that anyone with objections to that has a reason for it. But those reasons may not be anything close to what you think. That's a similar argument like when you get pulled over by law enforcement and do not consent to them searching your vehicle. There is a reason that I won't consent to a search, but it's not because I have anything illegal. Don't be too quick to judge the actions of others based on your inaccurate assumptions as to their motivations.

 

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On 10/6/2021 at 4:47 PM, MYCVAStory said:

28. Non-Monetary Commitments

The Debtors shall take the following actions to promote healing and reconciliation and to continue the Debtors’ efforts to prevent Abuse from occurring in Scouting in the future:

a.      The Debtors shall form a committee (the “Child Protection Committee”) of members from the BSA, Local Councils, the Tort Claimants’ Committee, and the Coalition (including survivors). The functions of the Child Protection Committee include the following:

NO mention of numbers of members.  Coalition members “include” survivors but don’t have to be?

Most committees of this nature need to have some amount of self regulation ability when it comes to membership numbers.  The statement says "members" so you are talking about a minimum of 2 from each group for a committee of at least 8.  Much more than 15-16ish and you start losing the ability to function as a group.  The members of from the Coalition will include, but may not be entirely survivors.

(i) No later than six months after the Effective Date, the BSA will present to the Committee on the BSA’s current Youth Protection Program (the “Youth Protection Program”). The BSA will report to the Child Protection Committee regarding the Youth Protection Program and any changes thereto on an annual basis for a period of three years following the Effective Date.   NO mention of when this will happen other than annually.  The BIGGEST sin though is that this reporting of changes (only?) is to continue for THREE YEARS ONLY.  What is the lifespan of this Committee?

How can they give a date when there isn't any certainty on a starting point?  It's 6 months after the start, that's pretty cut and dry.  And the reports are to happen annually, that means the second report would be no longer than 18 months after the start and the third report is no later than 30 months after the start.

Expecting them to be able to hash out appropriate changes within 3 years seems pretty reasonable to me?  How much longer than that do you expect it to take?

(ii) Following that presentation, the BSA and Child Protection Committee will work with an entity engaged by the BSA that is selected with the consultation of the Child Protection Committee that is not currently affiliated with the BSA to evaluate the Youth Protection Program (the “Evaluating Entity”). The Evaluating Entity will have expertise in the prevention of youth sexual abuse.  “In consultation” with the Committee but not expressly with their agreement only?

I agree with you here.  They could have easily said the Evaluating Entity would be selected "with the approval of the committee".

(A) Any evaluation will be comprehensive in nature and include input from current BSA volunteers and professionals, survivors of sexual abuse while involved with Scouting, the members of the Child Protection Committee, and the Evaluating Entity.

(B) The Evaluating Entity will report to the Child Protection Committee assessing the current Youth Protection Program and make specific recommendations for reasonable improvements to the Youth Protection Program that may include mechanisms for the elimination of abuse and accurate and annual reporting regarding the results of the Youth Protection Program, including confirmed instances of sexual abuse that is made available to the public (the “Prospective Reporting”).  This notes “may include” but does not expressly require annual reporting.  It is all “recommendations” of course

If you are going to hire an outside entity to determine what changes should be implemented, you don't usually set in advance what the entity's recommendations are going to be, that's why it's "may include".  It's basically a statement that "we expect the changes will include annual reporting".  And it has to be recommendations because you are hiring an expert in CSA prevention, not the BSA.  There's always the chance that a recommendation made solely from the perspective of the Evaluator might be functionally impossible within the mission of the BSA.  For example, requiring each scout to have a parent present on overnight outings.

(C) The BSA will engage with the Evaluating Entity, and the Child Protection Committee, and will take appropriate steps as necessary to improve the Program. Changes to the Youth Protection Program will be reported on the BSA’s Youth Protection Program website and training will be reasonably adjusted to reflect changes.   NO mention is made of the abuse reporting ANNUALLY for public viewing.

That's because this section isn't about "abuse reporting" to the public, this section is talking about changes in the program being reported on the YP program website.  Section (iii) below contains your line about abuse reporting happening annually.

(iii) The BSA will propose and the Child Protection Committee will consider a protocol for the review and publication of information in the Volunteer Screening Database and the Prospective Reporting, which will take into account factors including: (i) the desire to make public credibly identified perpetrators of sexual abuse in Scouting; (ii) adequate protections for survivor identities; (iii) consideration regarding the protection of third parties, including survivor family members and volunteers; (iv) a notification process regarding any publication; (v) issues related to privacy and liability related to publication; and (vi) the potential appointment or retention of an appropriate neutral party to supervise the evaluation and review of the Volunteer Screening Database (the “Neutral Supervisor”). If the BSA and Child Protection Committee are unable to reach an agreement on the above protocol, the Neutral Supervisor shall mediate the dispute to resolution. In accordance with the process outlined above, information from the Volunteer Screening Database and Prospective Reporting shall be published annually after agreement among the parties or determination by the Neutral Supervisor. 

(iv) After consultation and recommendations from the Evaluating Entity, the Child Protection Committee may propose and the BSA will in good faith consider other issues relating to child protection, including: (i) special BSA Scouting programs for survivors; and (ii) participation and leadership in a comprehensive reporting program to include other youth-serving organizations.

The BSA is trying to tie itself to other "youth-serving organizations" for cover.  "They do it so we do it too."  The BSA is unique in its programs so tying standards for behavior to an organization that doesn't regularly include overnight travel, for example, is a red-herring.

They are offering to take the participate in (or take the lead in) a program to collect and report data from all youth organizations.  How is this bad?  I mean, I'm sure they would like to know how they stack up compared to other organizations, but again, how is that bad?  If, as you say, the BSA's activities are uniquely more risky every other organization, then participating in a mass reporting program will merely point that out more clearly, not hide it; because everyone will clearly see the disparity of results between the programs.

(v) The BSA will engage with the Child Protection Committee and consider all appropriate measures proposed by the Child Protection Committee to improve transparency and accountability with respect to any future instances of sexual abuse, including the dissemination of information relating to abuse statistics, consistent with practices of other youth-serving organizations, including what information may be publically available on the BSA’s website.

      “….will consider” and “consistent with practices” is VERY weak.  This guarantees nothing let alone does not define the “practices.”

The BSA has had 18 months post-bankruptcy, and how many in preperation of, and this is the best it can do?  How is this convincing the public it wants to seriously address the problem?  If teh answer is "They didn't want to do too much in case it was seen as an admission of guilt" well, that cat's out of the bag or it wouldn't want permanent injunctions AND it's still serving children NOW.  Shameful.

I think you've fundamentally misunderstood the purpose of this information.  It's not a plan, it's not ideas, it's not supposed to be anything firm.  It's merely supposed to be the framework for how they would allow an outside group input and review authority over their changes.  Going into detail here would only cause problems because people would end up arguing over whether it's too much or too little when all they want to do is establish the plan for later.

 

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12 minutes ago, elitts said:

 

Just FYI: based on last night's TCC townhall Stang semi-admitted that the section on non-monetary relief had been "Watered down" but that the TCC plan coming out will be much stronger.

I suspect a LOT of the "Suggestion" and "Recommendations" from the victims and the outside auditor/monitor will turn into "shall" and "musts" for BSA.

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For surveys, interviews, or polling of the youth, their is a legal and ethical consideration that is being overlooked.  If a child provides answers that they are being groomed or abused to include answers indicative of such behaviors, there are requirements from an Institutional Review Board perspective that the name of the child must be submitted to protect that child.  This need precludes anonymous data collection.  This further complicates data collection and interpretation.  I certainly support being proactive in looking for children that are being groomed or abused but it is not so simple as to come up with a scale and send it out.  I heartily recommend involving academic researchers to devise the scales and supervise the data collection and interpretation.

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11 minutes ago, vol_scouter said:

For surveys, interviews, or polling of the youth, their is a legal and ethical consideration that is being overlooked. 

And yet such surveys are done all the time and they reported all the time and it is not impossible to do.

moreover I would point out that the focus on the statistical data the TCC shows interest in is the number of occurrences the number of abusers the number of YP violations etc. none of that requires any IRB.

Somehow the United States conference of Catholic bishops was able to figure out how to do this. So is USA gymnastics.

But poor old BSA cannot? Really?

This reminds me of yet again BSA throwing up excuses. I can remember at one point hearing directly from BSA national asking for criminal background checks was simply unworkable for all volunteers.

and yet it now is happening 

where there’s a will there’s a way.

especially when that will be supplemented by a direct order of the court.

Just wait for the media reporting when BSA is held in contempt of court for refusing to abide by the bankruptcy court order to release statistical data on the number of occurrences of child sexual abuse in BSA every year.

The excuses won’t work anymore. BSA has no credibility in this area. 

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6 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

And yet such surveys are done all the time and they reported all the time and it is not impossible to do.

moreover I would point out that the focus on the statistical data the TCC shows interest in is the number of occurrences the number of abusers the number of YP violations etc. none of that requires any IRB.

somehow the United States conference of Catholic bishops was able to figure out how to do this. so is USA gymnastics.

This reminds me of yet again BSA throwing up excuses. I can remember at one point hearing directly from BSA national debt asking for criminal background checks with simply unworkable for all volunteers.

where there’s a will there’s a way.

especially when that will be supplemented by a direct order of the court.

Just wait for the media reporting when BSA is held in contempt of court for refusing to abide by the bankruptcy court order to release statistical data on the number of occurrences of child sexual abuse in BSA every year.

The excuses won’t work anymore. BSA has no credibility in this area. 

So you are advocating doing a survey that shows some children who are being abused and doing nothing?  That is not only immoral but it is reprehensible. Any child found being groomed or abused needs to be identified and swift interventions must be done.

My statement was that I support such studies but believe that they should be done in a moral, scientifically correct, and useful manner.  You continually distort what I have said.  What I am proposing will cost more so it is not what the BSA might prefer.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, vol_scouter said:

I heartily recommend involving academic researchers to devise the scales and supervise the data collection and interpretation.

I totally agree because BSA can NOT be trusted to self-report. Outside auditing is in order.

Catholic bishops brought in John Jay for the original 2002/2004 report looking backward. And now, annually, they use an outside auditor (StoneBridge) to compile the data and review 15% of all dioceses at random for an in-depth dive each year.

See, it can be done. No more BSA excuses.

https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2019-Annual-Report-Final.pdf

 

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27 minutes ago, vol_scouter said:

I heartily recommend involving academic researchers to devise the scales and supervise the data collection and interpretation.

The last time the BSA brought in an "independent" academic to review themselves was Warren 2011. Her report was a complete white wash.

And, as was pointed out, when members of the press tried asking her questions about her work, she refused to answer.

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Don’t cite Dr Warren. She wasnt allowed to answer questions at BSA’s press conference in 2019  She’s not credible

 

 

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@CynicalScouter  But as you said, the composition and activities of the committee will be court appointed so should be experts in the field who will be objective.   Once again, not to report children being groomed or abused to the police and human resources in the state is immoral and reprehensible.  The court appointed or defined and reviewed committee will get the best answers.

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