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Another Scout Leader charged with abuse, this time on Long Island!

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This was in today's Newsday, I copied & pasted the article. It's such a shame. The Scout troop was in Great Neck (Nassau County, Long Island) but the "leader" was from Bayside,Queens which I found strange since you would think that most of the leaders would live in the same area as the troop. It didn't mention if he had any sons in the troop or if he had any children at all. Both towns, Great Neck & Bayside are near the Queens/ Nassau border. It's very sad too because this "leader" even took YPT!





Long Island Newsday


Scout leader took abuse course

Volunteer leader charged with abusing boy in troop completed an abuse prevention program, official says






August 21, 2005



A volunteer Boy Scout leader accused of sexually abusing a member of his Great Neck troop took a two-hour abuse prevention program three months before the alleged actions started, a Boy Scout official said.


Ronald Occhipinti, 50, of 58-14 East Hampton Blvd. in Bayside, Queens, brought the alleged victim, now 13, to his home on several occasions between Sept. 1, 2003, and Aug. 6, 2005, the Queens district attorney's office said.



There, he had the child remove his clothes and pose in "lewd and obscene positions, which then photographed," according to a release from the district attorney's office.


Police are investigating whether there were additional victims, said Nicole Navas, spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney.


Edward McLaughlin, senior executive for the Theodore Roosevelt Council 386 in Massapequa, which oversees Nassau County's scouting programs, did not know how long Occhipinti had worked with Troop 183.


He said records showed Occhipinti had received the training in June 2003.


The training, McLaughlin said, should "protect youth and adult members from being involved in situations where a potential abuse could take place."


It also explains Scouting rules, such as prohibiting one-on-one contact between a leader and a Scout.


"He did take the training we required of him," McLaughlin said. "Then he turned around and completely violated the training and rules and regulations we as an organization set for our adult leaders."


A source close to the case said an Internet photo of the victim, wearing a visible troop number, led police to Occhipinti, an employee of a Long Island burglar alarm company.


Occhipinti was arraigned late Friday on seven charges, including sexual abuse, use of a child in a sexual performance and endangering the welfare of a child, the Queens district attorney's office said.


He had never been arrested before, Navas said.


Queens Criminal Court Judge Robert Raciti in Kew Gardens set Occhipinti's bail at $250,000 and issued an order of protection, prohibiting him from contacting the victim, Navas said.


If convicted, Occhipinti could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison, Navas said.


Occhipinti could not be reached for comment. Calls to his home were not answered.


"There's a sense of shock that one of our leaders we trusted with our youngsters has done this," McLaughlin said. "It's a very sad situation."


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Shock should be followed by revulsion and horror. He might not have been caught before but most likely there is plenty of other evidence, if they just look around. Youth Protection Training only provides information and awareness. Once the basics are in place it is up to the rest of us to act. Since he took pictures with the shirt on and then posted it, he is exhibiting the characteristics that make him a predator. $250,000. or 10% of that doesn't protect him from doing it again. 25 years of jail time is not quite long enough for a 50 year old either. The public needs to be protected, the laws are not strong enough and there is no cure available. Until the laws are made to warehouse these sick individuals from the rest of the population permanently, they will continue to be a menace lurking in the shadows on every corner.





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Where were the other leaders who allowed this to happen? Did they take YPT?

I don't understand why the article was slanted that the perp took YPT and there was some indication that YPT failed. If this occured at a scout function, it was the other adults that failed, not YPT.

Some adults in my unit have nicknamed me the YPT Nazi, because I constantly remind them not to violate any of its guidelines. Some are offended, saying they are not molesters. My response is I don't know, but YPT protects them just as much as the scout.

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It really makes no difference if the boy & his parents read the beginning of the handbook. It really makes no difference that this guy took YPT. It just proves no matter how hard any organization tries to stop this sort of thing from happening, it will never rid itself of people like this. This could have happened in any youth organization. And this guy could be going around to different youth organizations doing the same thing! He just got caught this time.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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GernBlansten - It's hard to place blame on the other leaders since the report says that this occured at his home. This would have been outside of the normal troop setting.


YPT and the associated guidelines work well within the troop program as long as all of the leaders enforce them. But a predator is going to find a way around them, at any cost. I've often stated that YPT was more about protecting the innocent from false accusations than anything else. It's hard to accuse someone falsly if they've never been left alone with them.

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I totally agree that YPT is more valuable as a protection for non-predator leaders and almost not at all for predators. If the leader was able to find a boy willing to go alone to his home, no other leaders are going to know about it.


These guys are very talented in many cases and can find ways around almost anything. Unless parents lock their kids up in their homes and accompany them everywhere, there's always going to be an opportunity. You can't realistically do any more than the BSA does to protect youth.


It's just a fact that there are many reasons to be involved in scouting and this is one of them. If we realize that and keep our eyes open, we can probably head off some of the predators, but this will always happen.

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Maybe we need to add yearly review of youth protection with the boy scouts as part of the program. As cubs, they go over the packet each year, but only once in boy scouts. We could add a requirement to each level of advancement to go over BSA youth protection policies. It could be a required BOR questions. "Here are the standards for youth protection in BSA ... Do you know of any violations?"


Are we all sure that the Scouts in our programs know these standards?

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There are two YP videos for Scouts: "It Happened to Me" for Cubs, and "A Time to Tell" for Boy Scouts. YP training recommends that units schedule a date once a year to present these videos to Scouts and parents. One of the things boys will hear is that it is OK to say NO!! and STOP!!, and to YELL, KICK, SCREAM, and RUN AWAY.


All district and council offices should have multiple copies of these videos, and the printed viewer's guide available for loan to units.

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The more this happens the worse Scouting's image gets and the MORE people WON'T let their kids join and WON'T become volunteers themselves.


Again, it is time to deal with this ongoing NATIONAL problem. If it's happening all over, on a recurring and regular basis (and it IS recurring and regular) the problem has NOT been solved. "Youth Protection" in BSA is a great program - in theory. In practice - has everyone already forgotten about who was running it?


Pedophilia is the gorilla in the room that NOBODY wants to talk about.


While other parts of the country may have adults clammering to be Scout Leaders that isn't the case in the sururbs of NY. Part is "lifestyle" - Are't many parents that want to spend a weekend in a tent and hit the 7:37 into Penn Station. Try to find a Den leader willing to take on 8 kids once a week. Part is philosophic - their kids may want to be Scouts and do fun stuff but they have issues with policy (lost a couple good den leaders over the gay issue). There are basic problems with Scouting in large Urban areas and their surroundings that need to be addressed.


It seems from reports that this person did NOT have kids in the unit. A notorious case occurred in NYC a few years back with the same thing.


NO kid - that alone SHOULD have rasied some warning flags to "the Committee" but I'll bet that "the Committee" was a bunch of parent's names filled in on a form with a few marginally involved but not paying real close attention. They were penned in to meet BSA "requirements" In some cases parents are desperate for ANYONE to "run" their unit. It's "too much work" for any of them and they're more than glad if someone walks in the door and volunteers to take over. You want to take my kid camping in the woods - fine.


This situation was behind the worst cases detailed by Boyle in his book on the topic.


Yes, unit committees and their chair are supposed to check backgrounds and all. But maybe some real oversight is needed. Maybe the paid guys need to do more than show up once a year to ask for money. If a DE actually visited a unit meeting and SAW the situation once or twice a year, that would be a real change here.


Is it well run or kids running amok? Enough adults around or only one or two? Get a real feel for what Scouting is in a unit - not mindless "statistics" Take on some responsibility. Commissioners are supposed to do that. "Our Commissioner Corp is strong" - with a ton of vacancies listed on the same page. Our local commissioner doesn't even live here for much of the year.


BSA procedures and rules presuppose a level of adult involvement that is often NOT seen. The procedures are great and perfect in theory but they do not represent a real situation for many units.


If rigorously enforced, BSA's own rules on unit staffing and higher level oversight would result in many folding. It is easy to say "Rules were not followed" but the rules SHOULD reflect what is likely to be found and be workable in that reality.


Frankly, I doubt that you can run Scouting as required, complying with all rules and regulations around here. "Two-deep" and a roster of required positions are - from my experience - not possible in far too many circumstances. So you are presented with a dilemma - run a program and cope or issue an ultimatum - "participate" or the unit dies.


Newsflash- the unit will die. There are more than enough other less demanding options for parents looking to dump their kids off for some "activity." ANd gentle "persuasion" seems only to produce short time disiinterested leaders who do little beyond disillusioning kids about Scouting.



So who's to blame? Uninvolved parents? Leadership? BSA itself? There's a combination of factors at work here. But BSA has NOT made itself appealing to a wide range of adults and is in fact making things harder for the dedicated Scouters who want to run a good program. BSA is losing adult volunteer leaders at an alarming rate - why? Too many units literally ARE willing to accept anyone who walks in the door (and that HAS been documented in other cases if not true here).


"More rules" is not a solution when the rules are written for a world that does NOT exist. It's hard enough to follow the existing rules.


So, parents have to take responsibility - but aren't some of the boys we have in Scouting, ones that really NEED Scouting there BECAUSE their ParenT (one - usually single mother) is trying to do the best they can for their kid but is overwhelmed already? We've got them.


As far as the affluent and uninvolved, their kids need sone self-discipline, ethics and morals MORE than the less advantaged kids. Their parents are oblivious and often go days without seeing their kids. We've got them too.


And too many parents may complain about this and that but sure aren't going to take your place. ON hard issues they defer to the leaders already in place.


So, who takes responsibility when parents don't?


How about the chartered organization? A church is likely to pay attention but what if the Methodists are now the CO for what used to be the Reform Synagogue Troop? (a case here - the Synagouge dropped over the gay issue) The church doesn't know the leaders. And as noted, few CO's pay attention anyway. Our CO barely knows us - they chartered us in 191? and we haven't met there since 199?


If you have good existing leadership, they work to maintain it. But what happens when nobody wants to keep things going? You can't force people to join Scouting. And honestly - even some of the dedicated ones are getting a bit embarassed by it now. Scouting's image - especially locally - needs some work.


And if you have a marginal unit to start with, is anyone really paying attention?


Instead of focusing on adding boys, BSA might be better served by adding qualified and good adult volunteers first. AND retaining the ones they have.


In the mean time stop blaming local units and chartering organizations for "not checking" enough and take on some real responsibility here. Maybe staff should be doing more than sending an application to some service who runs a computer check. Has a DE ever called to check references on a volunteer leader? Like the application is going to list BAD ones (though we've had that happen - HIM? I wouldn't leave MY kid with HIM.) Or as noted -actually VISIT meetings now and then and see what's going on. You may not be able to spot a pedophile but there are clear warning signs visible in the worst cases.

ANd an added benefit might be a better overall Scout program.


For the record:


NOT all volunteers in Scouting without kids are pedophiles. One of our Council's legends was a teacher and 40 year Scoutmaster. Apparently he and his wife never (coundn't?) have kids but his life was dedicated to them. But his profile is suspiciously like a number of pedophile/Scoutleaders (wasn't another just arrested in AZ?) A local pillar of Scouting here was a bachelor and the Assistant Scoutmaster for decades.


MY Scoutmaster was a 30 something guy who loved the outdoors and enjoyed it more with company. I think he'd been in Scouting but can't tell you what his motivation was. As a kid I never really thought about it. He was a cool guy, demanding but fair. Learned alot from him.



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