Jump to content

Unit Recharter Struggles


Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, gpurlee said:

It is interesting that the Catholic dioceses in some states have ceased to charter Scouting units but not in other states.

Makes sense.  Dioceses are independent businesses with their own lawyers AND their own state oversight requirements.  For example, my diocese has legal reporting requirements to the state AG as part of a settlement.  Other dioceses don't necessarily have those expectations. 

BSA needs to drop the term "charter".   Like most churches, Catholic dioceses "conceptually" strongly support BSA and scouting.  The issue is the contractual and legal obligations.  Long gone is the 1950s honorary view of a charter.  Courts are now enforcing it as a legal document with millions of dollars of liability.  ... Twenty years of pain for most Catholic dioceses have left extra oversight requirements.  Twenty years of pain have emphasized legal obligations and risks.  ... Extra oversight.  Extra training.  Church run background checks.  It's expensive in dollars, staff and time.  ...  Churches can't afford to "charter".

Churches are willing to do what they've always done.  Provide space.  Store stuff.   ...   The problem is asking them to take legal responsibility and being financially liable.

BSA should push facility use agreements over charter org agreements.  ...   Scouting needs to match the agreement with reality.  These are legal documents.   Even if not enforced in a court of law.  Morally, the words should match what you do.  If you sign a document saying you will do something, you have a moral obligation to do what you said you would do.  ...  Currently, BSA asks COs to sign detailed agreements but then minimizes CO dependencies as BSA knows COs are not fulfilling their written obligations.  .... Far beyond BSA checking if the CO is doing as written.  Rather, it's setup to handle the problem that most COs just don't actively fulfill the charter.  

Edited by MattR
not -> now, per request
  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 105
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

You make several interesting points: Traditionally, we know from observation that the majority of chartered organizations have acted more in the role of a benevolent landlord rather than treating

The issue both he and I highlighted was the fact that BSA at all levels "knew or should of known" the imminent threat of CSA throughout the organization. The documented knowledge of that irrefutable e

Makes sense.  Dioceses are independent businesses with their own lawyers AND their own state oversight requirements.  For example, my diocese has legal reporting requirements to the state AG as part o

Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Courts are not enforcing it as a legal document with millions of dollars of liability. 

I hate finding typos in what I write.  Replace "not" with "now".   ...

And, I really wish I could come back 12 hours later to remove half the words.   :(  

Edited by fred8033
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

I hate finding typos in what I write.  Replace "not" with "now".   ...

And, I really wish I could come back 12 hours later to remove half the words.   :(  

Just ask. I fixed the not now typo

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, fred8033 said:

BSA needs to drop the term "charter".   Like most churches, Catholic dioceses "conceptually" strongly support BSA and scouting.  The issue is the contractual and legal obligations.  Long gone is the 1950s honorary view of a charter.  Courts are not enforcing it as a legal document with millions of dollars of liability.  ... Twenty years of pain for most Catholic dioceses have left extra oversight requirements.  Twenty years of pain have emphasized legal obligations and risks.  ... Extra oversight.  Extra training.  Church run background checks.  It's expensive in dollars, staff and time.  ...  Churches can't afford to "charter".

Churches are willing to do what they've always done.  Provide space.  Store stuff.   ...   The problem is asking them to take legal responsibility and being financially liable.

BSA should push facility use agreements over charter org agreements.  ...   Scouting needs to match the agreement with reality.  These are legal documents.   Even if not enforced in a court of law.  Morally, the words should match what you do.  If you sign a document saying you will do something, you have a moral obligation to do what you said you would do.  ...  Currently, BSA asks COs to sign detailed agreements but then minimizes CO dependencies as BSA knows COs are not fulfilling their written obligations.  .... Far beyond BSA checking if the CO is doing as written.  Rather, it's setup to handle the problem that most COs just don't actively fulfill the charter.  

You make several interesting points:

Traditionally, we know from observation that the majority of chartered organizations have acted more in the role of a benevolent landlord rather than treating their Scouting organization  as a true ministry or part of their organization.  A meeting place, equipment storage and perhaps a Scout Sunday program or chili supper fundraiser have been the extent of their involvement. This has been common practice for decades.  

You are correct that court interpretations of the charter agreements have shocked some chartered organizations into realizing the long term implications of the documents that they signed perhaps decades ago. 

You are also right on point when you state that chartered organizations have the legal and moral responsibility to fulfill that agreement of oversight, support  and accountability.

However, the reality for many chartered organizations is that they lack the ability and/or willingness to provide the level of on-going oversight that is needed. This includes the selection (interviewing, reference checks?), approval, ensuring completion of training as well as on-going oversight of program and financial operations. And ideally all of this process should be documented and preserved. 

How many chartered organizations that have been named in the bankruptcy for alleged incidents occurring thirty or forty years ago wish today that they had maintained and retained some sort of documentation that might provide protection for them? 

If a chartered organization is going to maintain oversight and accountability, they must have the leadership capable, willing and who have the time to do so. My experience is that many of the chartered organizations today have difficulty in coming up with a capable and willing slate of leaders to even operate their own organization as their membership shrinks. 

I am not sure what the long term solution is.  The professionals within our local council have stated that they do not have the manpower, resources or desire to oversee the local units under a meeting space only agreement model. And the reality is that this model would shift the liability almost totally to the council level. 

Lots of questions remain to be answered even if a bankruptcy settlement is reached.

 

 

Edited by gpurlee
  • Upvote 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, gpurlee said:

You make several interesting points:

Traditionally, we know from observation that the majority of chartered organizations have acted more in the role of a benevolent landlord rather than treating their Scouting organization  as a true ministry or part of their organization.  A meeting place, equipment storage and perhaps a Scout Sunday program or chili supper fundraiser have been the extent of their involvement. This has been common practice for decades.  

You are correct that court interpretations of the charter agreements have shocked some chartered organizations into realizing the long term implications of the documents that they signed perhaps decades ago. 

You are also right on point when you state that chartered organizations have the legal and moral responsibility to fulfill that agreement of oversight, support  and accountability.

However, the reality for many chartered organizations is that they lack the ability and/or willingness to provide the level of on-going oversight that is needed. This includes the selection (interviewing, reference checks?), approval, ensuring completion of training as well as on-going oversight of program and financial operations. And ideally all of this process should be documented and preserved. 

How many chartered organizations that have been named in the bankruptcy for alleged incidents occurring thirty or forty years ago wish today that they had maintained and retained some sort of documentation that might provide protection for them? 

If a chartered organization is going to maintain oversight and accountability, they must have the leadership capable, willing and who have the time to do so. My experience is that many of the chartered organizations today have difficulty in coming up with a capable and willing slate of leaders to even operate their own organization as their membership shrinks. 

I am not sure what the long term solution is.  The professionals within our local council have stated that they do not have the manpower, resources or desire to oversee the local units under a meeting space only agreement model. And the reality is that this model would shift the liability almost totally to the council level. 

Lots of questions remain to be answered even if a bankruptcy settlement is reached.

 

 

There are several issues like this that have not been addressed in the bankruptcy reorganization plan. To me, that renders it almost pointless because it's yet more BSA willful fiction. The chartered organization model has long been dysfunctional as a national strategy. The ability to rely on volunteer leadership is declining. The likely only way forward for scouting is more paid staff at a district or council level that can oversee consistent administration of the program and backfill volunteer attrition. Without reliable oversight, nothing in the program can be held to account and that includes the most important component going forward -- youth protection. 

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, gpurlee said:

However, the reality for many chartered organizations is that they lack the ability and/or willingness to provide the level of on-going oversight that is needed. This includes the selection (interviewing, reference checks?), approval, ensuring completion of training as well as on-going oversight of program and financial operations. And ideally all of this process should be documented and preserved. 

...

If a chartered organization is going to maintain oversight and accountability, they must have the leadership capable, willing and who have the time to do so. My experience is that many of the chartered organizations today have difficulty in coming up with a capable and willing slate of leaders to even operate their own organization as their membership shrinks. 

I am not sure what the long term solution is.  The professionals within our local council have stated that they do not have the manpower, resources or desire to oversee the local units under a meeting space only agreement model. And the reality is that this model would shift the liability almost totally to the council level. 

Lots of questions remain to be answered even if a bankruptcy settlement is reached.

Well written.  I fully agree.  

8 hours ago, gpurlee said:

How many chartered organizations that have been named in the bankruptcy for alleged incidents occurring thirty or forty years ago wish today that they had maintained and retained some sort of documentation that might provide protection for them? 

It's just not possible.  Hindsight and changes in judgement, values and expectations causes past records to be more damaging than valuable. 

Also, isn't that the whole thing that opened BSA's legal nightmare?  BSA kept incident records from 50+ years ago. ... It's legal negligence that BSA did not have these documents subject to a data retention policy.  Yes, handle the incidents.  Follow the law that exists at that time.   Make the best decisions and take the right actions.   Then, when done, the records should have been subject to a standard data retention policy.  ... Every major corporation I know learned that lesson in the 1990s.  ... Given how the courts enable using your own records against you, why would anyone keep such records from 30, 40, 50+ years ago?  

So then the question is NOW ... should organizations try to record their decisions?  Document what happened to protect themselves in the future?  IMHO, no.   Future judgements use different litmus tests and different interpretations.  ...   Slight, small mistakes or change-of-perception can infer huge liability.  ... In many ways, it's better to purge all the records.  

It reminds me of the older scouts in our troop.  They do not put post their personal life ... aka dating ... in Facebook.  Period.  They used SnapChat or Instragram.  They want the pictures and comments gone.    They don't want their next girl-friend to surf their past.  It's a teenage data retention policy.  

Edited by fred8033
  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, gpurlee said:

You make several interesting points:

Traditionally, we know from observation that the majority of chartered organizations have acted more in the role of a benevolent landlord rather than treating their Scouting organization  as a true ministry or part of their organization.  A meeting place, equipment storage and perhaps a Scout Sunday program or chili supper fundraiser have been the extent of their involvement. This has been common practice for decades.  

You are correct that court interpretations of the charter agreements have shocked some chartered organizations into realizing the long term implications of the documents that they signed perhaps decades ago. 

You are also right on point when you state that chartered organizations have the legal and moral responsibility to fulfill that agreement of oversight, support  and accountability.

However, the reality for many chartered organizations is that they lack the ability and/or willingness to provide the level of on-going oversight that is needed. This includes the selection (interviewing, reference checks?), approval, ensuring completion of training as well as on-going oversight of program and financial operations. And ideally all of this process should be documented and preserved. 

How many chartered organizations that have been named in the bankruptcy for alleged incidents occurring thirty or forty years ago wish today that they had maintained and retained some sort of documentation that might provide protection for them? 

If a chartered organization is going to maintain oversight and accountability, they must have the leadership capable, willing and who have the time to do so. My experience is that many of the chartered organizations today have difficulty in coming up with a capable and willing slate of leaders to even operate their own organization as their membership shrinks. 

I am not sure what the long term solution is.  The professionals within our local council have stated that they do not have the manpower, resources or desire to oversee the local units under a meeting space only agreement model. And the reality is that this model would shift the liability almost totally to the council level. 

Lots of questions remain to be answered even if a bankruptcy settlement is reached.

 

 

Just Yes. Precisely!

Has anyone got a copy of the Churchill Report?

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, fred8033 said:

It's just not possible.  Hindsight and changes in judgement, values and expectations causes past records to be more damaging than valuable. 

Also, isn't that the whole thing that opened BSA's legal nightmare?  BSA kept incident records from 50+ years ago. ... It's legal negligence that BSA did not have these documents subject to a data retention policy.  Yes, handle the incidents.  Follow the law that exists at that time.   Make the best decisions and take the right actions.   Then, when done, the records should have been subject to a standard data retention policy.  ... Every major corporation I know learned that lesson in the 1990s.  ... Given how the courts enable using your own records against you, why would anyone keep such records from 30, 40, 50+ years ago?  

So then the question is NOW ... should organizations try to record their decisions?  Document what happened to protect themselves in the future?  IMHO, no.   Future judgements use different litmus tests and different interpretations.  ...   Slight, small mistakes or change-of-perception can infer huge liability.  ... In many ways, it's better to purge all the records.  

You raise excellent points.

I think that the frustration for the chartered organizations that have been named in lawsuits for incidents that occurred thirty, forty or more years ago, is that there is no corporate memory that remains of that time period. Key organizational persons have died. Any records, if they even existed, were purged years if not decades ago. 

First of all, the vast majority of the chartered organizations simply did not have the understanding or expectation that they could be held legally accountable for actions which occurred in a Scout unit. Most believed they were simply providing meeting space as a benevolent landlord. There was no need to keep records in that case.

Second, even if a chartering organization had seen a need to document their sponsorship and oversight, the accepted corporate standard in most states has been five to ten years after which time records were destroyed.

Third, state statue of limitations had provided a shield for chartered organizations. Once the window to file a potential lawsuit had closed,  the need to retain any records was diminished greatly. Until fairly recently, very few observers would have predicted that statue of limitations would have been altered to provide "a look backwards."

Finally, until fairly recently, lawsuits against chartered organizations for alleged incidents were very unusual. When they occurred, the BSA provided legal consultation and insurance coverage that was sufficient to protect the organization from financial loss, at least.  Chartered organizations had no reason to fear that they might be "on their own".

And then the world changed ... 

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Also, isn't that the whole thing that opened BSA's legal nightmare?  BSA kept incident records from 50+ years ago. ... It's legal negligence that BSA did not have these documents subject to a data retention policy.  Yes, handle the incidents.  Follow the law that exists at that time.   Make the best decisions and take the right actions.   Then, when done, the records should have been subject to a standard data retention policy.  ... Every major corporation I know learned that lesson in the 1990s.  ... Given how the courts enable using your own records against you, why would anyone keep such records from 30, 40, 50+ years ago?  

 

This is a really big misunderstanding about the relationship between BSA's legal troubles and the IV files.  The files aren't the reason that BSA is in trouble.  BSA is in trouble because tens of thousands of boys and young men were sexually assaulted and brutalized while and because they participated in Boy Scouts.  Most of the attackers were not in the files, most of them were not found out at the time.  

You don't need any kind of files when you have living witnesses who can testify about what was done to them and by whom.  The absence or presence of files doesn't change the facts of the assaults or the failure to prevent them.  That's what BSA is being sued for, the assaults and the failure to stop them, not whether or not they kept some records about some predators that they sometimes prevented from their predation.

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

This is a really big misunderstanding about the relationship between BSA's legal troubles and the IV files.  The files aren't the reason that BSA is in trouble.  BSA is in trouble because tens of thousands of boys and young men were sexually assaulted and brutalized while and because they participated in Boy Scouts.  Most of the attackers were not in the files, most of them were not found out at the time.  

You don't need any kind of files when you have living witnesses who can testify about what was done to them and by whom.  The absence or presence of files doesn't change the facts of the assaults or the failure to prevent them.  That's what BSA is being sued for, the assaults and the failure to stop them, not whether or not they kept some records about some predators that they sometimes prevented from their predation.

These are the kinds of comments where I miss CynicalScouter. I can't recall exactly what his opinion on this was but I know he continually pointed out that the IVFs were precisely why the BSA was in trouble -- court cases found the BSA negligent for supressing their existence. It was negligence more than the actual abuse that tripped BSA up. Or something to that effect. To me that's the most sobering part. If the IVFs hadn't been dragged out into the light of day, the full scope of the abuse wouldn't have been known.   

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Also, isn't that the whole thing that opened BSA's legal nightmare?  BSA kept incident records from 50+ years ago. ... It's legal negligence that BSA did not have these documents subject to a data retention policy.  Yes, handle the incidents.  Follow the law that exists at that time.   Make the best decisions and take the right actions.   Then, when done, the records should have been subject to a standard data retention policy.  ... Every major corporation I know learned that lesson in the 1990s.  ... Given how the courts enable using your own

Part of the reason BSA kept those files  for so long is that folks in them could still be alive, and a danger to youth, decades after being put into them. The SM who abused my 2 friends is still alive. While a criminal background check would show his conviction for CSA (their mom did press charges), Others in the IVF were NOT convicted, and the IVF prevents them from re-enrolling. One victim posted their abusers case file on a previous thread. They were never charged with a crime, and only the IVF prevented them from rejoining. Grant you they attempted to rejoin within 2 years of being kicked out, but others may try years later.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, yknot said:

If the IVFs hadn't been dragged out into the light of day, the full scope of the abuse wouldn't have been known.   

Agreed.  Without the dragging of those out into the light of day, I doubt the momentum that resulted in BSA's bankruptcy would have happened.  

Abuse is wrong.  Period.  I'm not defending the abuse at all.  ... The issue is that lawyers exists to protect the client.  ... IMHO, in this case, the legal advice failed miserably.  I believe that the scouting abuse is similar in size and scope that we had seen in other organizations.  That's my opinion.  Others judge it differently.  ...  One trigger for the current situation is that the IVF files provided the perfect storm to feed a frenzy.  

The only why I can understand keeping 10, 20, 30, 40, 50+ year old records is that leadership felt morally driven to keep those records to keep those abusers out and wrong to purge records.  ...  The intention was right, but legal decision left BSA vulnerable to document fishing.  

I just looked at my state's criminal data retention policy.  Police records (investigation, arrest, etc) can be purged after SOL expires or 30 year; whichever comes first.  At the time of most of these crimes, the SOL window was less than 10 years.  ...   So, even if we wanted to see whether the police were involved and what actions they took in these cases, we could not find those records.  ... COs never kept detailed records like this long term.  ... BSA by creating that depth of record exposed itself to huge risk.  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Part of the reason BSA kept those files  for so long is that folks in them could still be alive, and a danger to youth, decades after being put into them. The SM who abused my 2 friends is still alive. While a criminal background check would show his conviction for CSA (their mom did press charges), Others in the IVF were NOT convicted, and the IVF prevents them from re-enrolling. One victim posted their abusers case file on a previous thread. They were never charged with a crime, and only the IVF prevented them from rejoining. Grant you they attempted to rejoin within 2 years of being kicked out, but others may try years later.

Abuse is wrong.  Your situation is painful.  

BSA could have kept blocking the volunteer with a permanent block.  His registration was known registered SM, then blocked.  If the SM did not get incorrect records corrected within ... say 5 years ... it should have been permanent without possibility of removal.

TODAY ... perhaps BSA should have a different role.  Leave the good or bad volunteer decision to the background check.  ... If the background check comes back clean, they can be registered. ... I'm not saying it would work.  Just a thought.   My reason is that I fear future legal liabilities for organizations that try to decide if a volunteer is safe.  ... OR ... BSA should stop using the "registration" process.  It infers BSA is taking responsibility for the volunteer.  :Perhaps a different unit structure (as we keep infering) is needed.

Edited by fred8033
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 5/8/2022 at 11:26 AM, yknot said:

I can't recall exactly what his opinion on this was but I know he continually pointed out that the IVFs were precisely why the BSA was in trouble -- court cases found the BSA negligent for supressing their existence. It was negligence more than the actual abuse that tripped BSA up. Or something to that effect.

The issue both he and I highlighted was the fact that BSA at all levels "knew or should of known" the imminent threat of CSA throughout the organization. The documented knowledge of that irrefutable evidence created/creates a gimme case of negligence under the law. The "knew or should of known" element was NOT ONLY regarding disconnected, diffuse incidents in many locations over 10 decades, but it illustrated in great detail, among other things:

1. Repeat patterns of grooming;

2. Behaviors and indicia of both abusers and high risk Scouts;

3. High vulnerability and easy access within certain contexts/locations; 

4. The typical abuse cycle of specific acts of grooming, special treatment, emotional manipulation, isolation, and threats express or implied; 

5. Inadequate oversight and breach of the duty or protect; and CRITICALLY, which was CS main point, 

6. A systemic failure to fully and carefully vet and supervise adult leaders.

Add these up and negligence is simple. It was one thing for CSA plaintiffs to make allegations and try to link together the publicly known cases, whether individual or multi-victim, and another all together for attorneys to present and PROVE the patterns by internal records that span 100+ years. Further, those records demonstrate volunteer and professional involvement with those cases at every single level of Scouting. The IVF that lays the foundation for my rebuttal of time-bar based on fraudulent concealment is one example. It shows in black and white that my SE was aware of the grooming in my Troop while concurrently managing, documenting and reporting a similar case to every professional Scouter up the chain. His letters recording every phase of the incident include communications with the police, COR, SM, LC president, an untitled professional we'll call J. E., the Regional Director of Support Services (Robert Kilmer) and ultimately to the desk and files of the Executive of Registration and Subscription Services (Paul I. Ernst). The other sister CO/Troop was less than 2 miles from the meeting place of our Troop AND the SE know both Troops and their leaders very well. My CO and meeting place happened to be directly across the street from my home. Wee for me. If only...

Sorry for typos. Shoving this into a spare moment and typing feverishly. Apologies.

Oh, yeah. I know some will interject the "societal standards" argument. I'm just reporting the argument and don't want to revive the well-flogged horse for another round of whipping. 

Edited by ThenNow
  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a prospect that a Kiwanis group will charter our units, pack and troop.

Catholic Diocese is done chartering all units.

8 months of worry. No help from National, nor from Council, though a new DE found the prospect. Never a second's worth of acknowledgment by Council staff that prospective chartering organizations' reluctance is due to concern over future liability for abuse claims.  Totally tone deaf.  Hello-heard about the 3 billion bankruptcy that has put the existence of the organization at risk? And alienated virtually every element of your business model?

We think we can continue to meet at our parish who was our sponsor for 70± years. Discussions happening daily.

Another thread waxes on about summer camp scouting fun.

Chartering has been nothing but angst.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...