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Former Youth Protection Director on the dangers in Scouts BSA


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2 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

So, having slept on it...

Does Johnson's presser yesterday affect anyone's thoughts on remaining affiliated with BSA until more of these changes are manifested?

Over the years, I have become more aware of how the BSA "professional" side operates, and have grown more and more uncomfortable with their modus operandi.  Johnson's revelations yesterday only confirmed my interpretations of negative experiences accumulated.

I think my frog may be boiled, and, as we are nearing recharter time, I'm wondering if the thing to do is to decline renewing my BSA membership...

Anyone else struggling with this?

I'm contemplating returning my Eagle to BSA, as one of my merit badges was "earned" from my abuser.  Struggling?  You think?

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I don't think anyone said that.  What they said is that we shouldn't just do weekly meetings and eliminate the outdoor program.  Honestly, scouting without an outdoor program is not scouting ... its s

You need to slow down and take a few breaths between reading and typing, you aren't even responding to the right point of outrage here. Eagledad was talking about the Scouting program and the pat

As you to which you allude, it was a stupid decision.  He should have been one of the very last to go before turning off the lights for the final time.

20 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

The two areas I was surprised was that 50% of the abuse are done by youth and known abusers are in the BSA. 

The other is known abusers are in the BSA.  That one needs specifics.  I'm struggling to accept that one.  I hope it isn't true.

When I hear stats that not only don't comport with my own experience but that also seem really high even if I credit that my experience may be sheltered I start to wonder about definitions.  Earlier there was a discussion about folks' personal knowledge of YPT violation cases.

The only two I've known of personally were not in my unit but came from my involvement in summer camp and Jambo.  One was a case of a group text chat the was explicit and then also involved "sexting" pictures.  The other was a slapping of genitals that a group of scouts was doing.  Both these incidents were bad behavior, both involved youth in the same age cohort, both would probably fall into a broad definition of abuse (the latter was probably better classified as bullying) but I don't think they really qualified as the type of abuse that we've been discussing, and I don't think we should conflate the two.  An overly broad definition seems to me to diminish the seriousness and horror of what victims making claims today suffered.

 

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13 minutes ago, Eagle1970 said:

I'm contemplating returning my Eagle to BSA, as one of my merit badges was "earned" from my abuser.  Struggling?  You think?

Why let the #$%&! take any more from you. You did the work to earn the Eagle. 

I guess I have more of the mind set to say "look #$%&!, even with all the horrible crap you did, I still earned it in spite of you." 

Though I would likely have even more expletives. 

Edited by HelpfulTracks
typo
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28 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

The two areas I was surprised was that 50% of the abuse are done by youth and known abusers are in the BSA. 

 

Not surprised at all by the first, extremely skeptical of the second.

I am of the belief that 50% statistic includes a large percentage of curious exploration and 'show me' behaviors, which, when done in an adult to youth setting is definitely coercive and abusive, may be nothing more than that curiosity between youth of the same age.  I would agree however, when it is a much older scout with a young one, that is different, and I would include those interactions in the definite abuse category.  That is why even before it became BSA policy to not allow youth to tent together if they have more than a 2 year age difference we nudged them in that direction any way (not hard to do, as most older scouts prefer to either tent with someone their own age, or in many cases, prefer to tent alone.

As to his assertion that the BSA is aware of people who are known sex abusers being involved and looking the other way, I find that tough not to question.  That does not mean that there has never been a single occurrence, but I find it extremely hard to believe that any person in any position of authority in the BSA would ignore a known sex abuser and allow them to serve.  

It would be fantastic if none if these issues existed, and no one in scouting had ever had to suffer due to being abused, but the reality is that no matter how many safeguards we put into place we will likely never reach a level of zero cases.  Before anyone jumps in with the 'so you think there is an acceptable number of cases', I fully agree that one case annually is one too many, but we do not, nor will be ever live in a perfect world.

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2 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

That is why even before it became BSA policy to not allow youth to tent together if they have more than a 2 year age difference we nudged them in that direction any way (not hard to do, as most older scouts prefer to either tent with someone their own age, or in many cases, prefer to tent alone.

 

An older scout tenting with a younger scout would be a red flag that would require further discussion, not so much because of a predatory behavior, but because it is so rare, something isn't normal. 99.9 percent of scouts tent with their friends. I certainly would have the discussion. 

Barry

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7 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

I am of the belief that 50% statistic includes a large percentage of curious exploration and 'show me' behaviors, which, when done in an adult to youth setting is definitely coercive and abusive, may be nothing more than that curiosity between youth of the same age.  I would agree however, when it is a much older scout with a young one, that is different, and I would include those interactions in the definite abuse category.  That is why even before it became BSA policy to not allow youth to tent together if they have more than a 2 year age difference we nudged them in that direction any way (not hard to do, as most older scouts prefer to either tent with someone their own age, or in many cases, prefer to tent alone.

 

I agree with you & @Eagledad's comments.  To me, this one should drive BSA to release more details.  If this includes a lot of minor non abuse incidents then less concerning.  There is more grey area with youth than there is with adults and youth. 

If this means 50% of CSA is older kids raping younger youth then that is a completely different story.  While the tenting rule helps, there are still many cases where an older scout will be alone with a younger scout.  

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9 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Why let the #$%&! take any more from you. You did the work to earn the Eagle. 

I guess I have more of the mind set to say "look #$%&!, even with all the horrible crap you did, I still earned it in spite of you." 

Though I would likely have even more explicatives. 

He became hostile to me on Wednesday night and I called him out on the abuse on Thursday of camp week, having never finished the work or final tests.  He signed my card early and told me not to come back.  I'm trying to find the Eagle requirements from 1973 so I can determine if I otherwise earned it.  My brag vest has 22 merit badges so I may have earned an extra.  If not, I don't justly own it.  Nor do I really care anymore.

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3 minutes ago, Eagle1970 said:

He became hostile to me on Wednesday night and I called him out on the abuse on Thursday of camp week, having never finished the work or final tests.  He signed my card early and told me not to come back.  I'm trying to find the Eagle requirements from 1973 so I can determine if I otherwise earned it.  My brag vest has 22 merit badges so I may have earned an extra.  If not, I don't justly own it.  Nor do I really care anymore.

If BSA says you earned it, then you earned it. 

But here is are the requirements as set in 1970 and 1972. Which you use is based on when you earned Life. 

1970

  • Earn 21 merit badges, including the following 11:
    Camping
    Citizenship in the Community
    Citizenship in the Nation
    Conservation of Natural Resources
    Cooking
    First Aid
    Lifesaving
    Nature
    Personal Fitness
    Safety
    Swimming
  • While a Life Scout, serve actively for 6 months as a troop warrant officer [patrol leader, senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, junior assistant scoutmaster, instructor, scribe, quartermaster, librarian, den chief]
  • While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and carry out a service project helpful to your church or synagogue, school, or community
  • Take part in a Scoutmaster Conference (includes living up to Scout Promise, Law, Motto, and Slogan)

1972

  • Be active as a Life Scout for at least 6 months
  • Show Scout spirit
  • Earn 24 merit badges, including the following 10:
    First Aid
    Citizenship in the Community
    Citizenship in the Nation
    Citizenship in the World
    Communications
    Safety
    Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving
    Environmental Science
    Personal Management
    Personal Fitness OR Swimming OR Sports
  • While a Life Scout, serve actively for 6 months in one of the following positions [patrol leader, junior assistant scoutmaster, scribe, den chief, quartermaster, librarian, member of the leadership corps, senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, or instructor]
  • While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and carry out a service project helpful to your religious institution, school, or town
  • Take part in a Personal Growth Agreement Conference (Scoutmaster Conference)
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Just now, Eagle1993 said:

If this means 50% of CSA is older kids raping younger youth then that is a completely different story.  While the tenting rule helps, there are still many cases where an older scout will be alone with a younger scout.  

That is why the knee jerk Zero Tolerance of youth sex abuse reaction from the poster yesterday is so concerning. Dividing the age groups doesn't approach fixing the problem, and how do we keep friends having curious private discussions alone in their tents?

Discussion is getting a little crazy.

Barry

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14 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Not likely to find that. Document retention requirements were not as robust back then, and even the current strongest requirements would not require maintaining a document that long. 

But my understanding is that BSA started indemnifying CO's around '73 or '76 or so. 

I've been able to track down annual charter agreements from the 1920s and 1950s just via google. I'm sure a circa 1970 charter agreement is sitting on some shelf in BSA HQ or in some filing cabinet somewhere.

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1 minute ago, HelpfulTracks said:

If BSA says you earned it, then you earned it. 

But here is are the requirements as set in 1970 and 1972. Which you use is based on when you earned Life. 

1970

  • Earn 21 merit badges, including the following 11:
    Camping
    Citizenship in the Community
    Citizenship in the Nation
    Conservation of Natural Resources
    Cooking
    First Aid
    Lifesaving
    Nature
    Personal Fitness
    Safety
    Swimming
  • While a Life Scout, serve actively for 6 months as a troop warrant officer [patrol leader, senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, junior assistant scoutmaster, instructor, scribe, quartermaster, librarian, den chief]
  • While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and carry out a service project helpful to your church or synagogue, school, or community
  • Take part in a Scoutmaster Conference (includes living up to Scout Promise, Law, Motto, and Slogan)

1972

Thanks kindly.  That will help.  I still have all of the merit badge cards that were in my scrapbook, so I will go over it.

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3 minutes ago, SiouxRanger said:

So, what is Mr. Johnson's motivation to come forward and make any statement at all?

He genuinely cares, he thinks he was right and BSA should have agreed with him; he either reached out to the folks presenting him or they reached out to him, and they found kindred beliefs and a desire to act on them.  There's no reason to think there are any ill motives here.  And at the same time the lack of ill or ulterior motives doesn't make his views or his interpretation of his experience the only accurate or legitimate ones.

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I guess I am flabbergasted that after all this the BSA and every state isn’t requiring background checks and clearances.  6 years ago Pennsylvania by law requires any one 18 and above involved with youth organizations to have:

1.  A State Police background check

2.  PA Childline clearance (no accusations of abuse)

3.  If you have not lived in PA for 10 years FBI background check.

Edited by DeaconLance
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