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Scoutfish, how did you get into my mind and express my thoughts better than I'm expressing them?:)


Seriously. While I brought up precedent earlier, and I still believe that to be enough to say "No, don't bring it up at the EBOR"...Scoutfish is right. I'm the outsider here, and conscious enough of that to be cautious in my words...But something about this, oldsm, triggers alarm bells. Yes, 17/18 year olds can lie. I don't believe that being legally a minor grants the boy any special claim to truth. Yes, the kid wasn't removed.


But you said it yourself:


"My back-channel sources are firm in their belief that something was going on, and said that DCF had previous dealings with the family."


You also said:


"Through back channels, I learned later about the incident that triggered the scout's confession. Sources told me that he was not going home on weekends and was looking for alternate places to live after camp. To make a long story short (well, less long), DCF said "no", that he wasn't in imminent danger, that he was being provided for, etc., so he is living at home."


Non-removal means *nothing*, in most places. Non-removal means there wasn't enough to get a court order - and the bar to be passed in a court order is *imminent* danger. Non-removal does not mean there is nothing there. I note you didn't mention whether DCF was able to substantiate the allegations or not.


I'd look to those previous dealings with DCF if possible - especially if there are any other kids in the home. Previous dealings mean previous accusations of at least some credibility - I don't know of any CPS agency, anywhere, that has the resources or authority to go in absent accusations. Most are too overloaded to do followup on all of the *credible accusations* they get.


Like I said before...This case sets off a bunch of alarm bells. I know you want to believe the parents, oldsm...But I would not.

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I'm probably more confused now than before, but I think it safe to say that this topic is absolutely out of bounds for the Eagle Board.


What the hell would you ask? "So, son, your parents have suggested to us, well not actually to us, we're getting this second hand, that you falsely accused you mother of abusing you. How does that relate to the Scout Law?"


Let's just say for argument's sake that the parents are pure as the driven snow and the boy is such a master of evil manipulation he managed to get the Boy Scouts to call DCF on his mother. And the step-father's response is to make an off-the-cuff comment to the Scoutmaster that this ought to be fodder for a Board of Review!?!??! I'm sorry if this guys a pal of yours, but that just doesn't say "straight shooter" to me.


I know the dad really didn't give you an opportunity to respond, but if he had, the message should have been that if the mother was abusing the boy, they really need some heavy-duty family therapy. And if the boy falsely accused the mother, then they really need some heavy-duty family therapy. And if the truth is somewhere in between, the to straighten it all out, they really need some heavy-duty family therapy.


Sure, all the dads in our troop play off each other to tag team each other's sons. Frankly, I love the look on a kid's face when I tell him exactly what his dad told him to do the day before. You'd think they would figure out what we're up to. But that's always stuff like being more responsible, getting started on an Eagle project, spending more time on school work, etc. The potential of abuse and/or falsely accusing you MOTHER of abuse is many orders of magnitude beyond that.


And as a practical matter, you as Scoutmaster, don't have a voice on an Eagle Board. So you're going to have to hand this off to the board members. Is the family really okay with you bringing another three to five people on board with the details? Are the board members okay with this responsibility? Are they equipped, by training or temperament, to deal with this? What are you going to do with the District Advancement Committee representative when he or she strokes out?


I can't think of any possible scenario under which this would be appropriate for a board of review.

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So, mom, and dad, talked to you about the mess. That does not give you permission to spread this story.


You are a close pal of the dad. That does not mean he would admit it to you if his wife were an abuser. That would mean that he would have to take some blame for it happening in his home (with or without his knowledge). It is much easier to distance himself from the whole thing by making stepson sound like a liar.


You stated yourself - YOU DON'T KNOW what is really going on in that family. It is NOT your call to find out. It is NOT your call to turn either the SM Conference, and/or the EBOR, into an inquisition of the son on this matter.


It does NOT matter if you like the father, and dislike the son. YP issues are STILL supposed to be PRIVATE. Keep them that way.


This issue has nothing to do with this boy earning Eagle. Drop it now.

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Suppose for a moment that the kid was telling the truth - or at least, that he believes what he told was the truth (perceptions matter in situations like this).


What would it say about the adults in the room for the committee to bring up this difficult and emotionally fraught issue at his EBOR? I don't think that is trustworthy, loyal, friendly, or kind, to do that to a kid. You, SM and committee, owe this boy more respect than that. To do that to a kid is a betrayal.


If what you want to do is truly to help the kid, or the family, then there are better avenues. Be the young man's friend. Let him know he can continue to count on you, and that your support does not end the day he turns 18. Tell his step-dad that you've thought about his off-hand comment, and that you really think (as step-dad's buddy) that the better way to handle this would be for family members to consider talking to a professional about it - but that "consequences" (whatever that means - huge red flag in my mind!) should certainly NOT come from an unrelated youth program, and certainly not from out of left field when the kid is least expecting it (at EBOR).


Just don't let this be fodder for EBOR. Totally out of bounds.







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Yah, hmmm...


Thanks for da clarification, oldsm, though I'm not sure it's really that much clearer.


Let me approach this in a different way than da others (who I also agree with completely).


Your COR is a member of the council (a corporate, legal member, not just a registered leader). As a member of da council, he or she has been notified of an abuse allegation that required da removal of one of his/her unit volunteers from the BSA. That is an internal corporate communication. To then reveal that communication to others in a board of review setting puts your COR at risk of a defamation action... either by the mom or by the boy. Abusing your children, or false accusations of same, are da sort of thing that do seriously damage a person's reputation in a way that can and should lead to financial recovery by the person slandered. Yah, yah, it's not a great case, dependin' on what the COR actually says, but the COR doin' that is also so out of line that it may well be worth pursuing.


So, if we start tallying things up here...



*COR gets named in a defamation suit

*other board members and council representative think your unit has lost their mind

*boy sticks by his story, and repeats allegations of abuse and neglect. Now all of the board members are obligated to call DCFS and make a report to the SE, and perhaps call law enforcement.

*boy breaks down in tears and refuses to talk to any of you, and the board is forced to adjourn. The other board members who had not previously known about this are obligated to call DCFS and notify the SE, because they now have reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect.

*boy says sullenly that he may have exaggerated.... NOW WHAT? Yeh have no way of knowing whether he's now telling the truth, or whether he's worried that your buddy his stepdad is going to hear whatever goes on so he's lying to you in order to avoid consequences at home. And again da other board members may feel obligated to file a report, because base on the boys affect they have reasonable suspicion that something's up.




??? Yeh got me.


Maybe the boy tells you about more abuse at home and it's enough to trigger a custody action for younger children in the family?




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Not enough hard data.


1- You don't know which side is true, and you shouldn't use hearsay in an EBOR.

2- How large is this mom to be slapping and intimidating a 17 year-old boy?

3- Tales of abuse get you lots of sympathy and sleep overs at friends' houses.

4- If your dad is spanking you, and my dad isn't spanking me, which of us is being abused?


Let me add that I'm glad I'm not in your position.

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evmori: In my mind, it does, because knowing the parents the way I do, I think that the potential of a false accusation speaks to character.


Disagree. What you have here is a bunch of "he said, she said" stuff an the Scout is stuck in the middle. This is a family issue and not a Scouting issue and definitely not any BOR issue.

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I think Scoutnut summed it all up very neatly, "It is none of their business". No place in an EBOR, SM Conference or any other boy scout function. This is a YP issue only and the way to deal with it is spelled out there. You get a board or other group of adults involved in this matter you are just asking for a lawsuit. Let the boy get his Eagle without having to account for his families behavior. YPT and its procedures are there for a reason, use them, you are not law enforcement or a legal guardian so watch where you step.

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YP confidentiality never becomes irrelevant. Just because the parents have been talking to you about it and if the boy is talking about it does not open the door for you to talk about it. This is NOT fair game for the EBOR. You need to figure out if you concern for the quality of his character is borne out of this situation (which is how it sounds) and whether or not it is borne out of your loyalty to his step-father (which is also how it sounds).


I think the statement that you've made a couple of times that concerns me the most is that you have heard details "through back channels". What does that mean? It sounds like people are talking about things they have no business talking about(gossiping?). Perhaps their character is the character that should be called into question ...


I know this likely sounds harsh, but I do agree that it is not usual for kids to make up the details of this, though I concede it does happen. In those cases, however, the false accusation is merely a symptom of a much bigger issue for the youth - one that I would have difficulty believing hasn't been visible long before now to those who have been spending an few hours a week with the young man for several years now.

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As a Scoutmaster, when I had SMCs, I kept most of what was said by the Scout private.



Now, I think many errors were made.


The staff, having just been through YP training a few weeks before, reported it up the chain, with the Camp Director reporting it to Council. No reporting "up the chain" - report directly to DFC and/or DE.


... spoke with my CC and the COR (who confirmed that he had received the letter), and we agreed to keep Council's action quiet ... This information should not have been shared/confirmed by your CC or COR. It is a private matter.


Through back channels, I learned later about the incident that triggered the scout's confession. Confession? I don't understand. I did not see any confession in your writing. Did he confess that he was lying about the physical abuse? Again, I don't understand.


Do I have a SM conference with the scout and, depending upon what he tells me directly, tell him that I can't recommend him for an EBOR? Or tell him that it is likely to come up at his EBOR, and let him know that it might cost him Eagle? If he requests a SMC, give it. What are you inferring that he would tell you that would make you not recommend him for his EBOR? Nowhere do you state that the Scout stated that he falsely accused his mother.


Do I have a word with the COR and suggest that the incident is fair game, as it affects character? According to Mom and step-Dad, this was a case of false accusation. No. If I did not recommend any Scout who ever lied, our troop would not have had any Eagle Scouts for the past 7 years.


If it comes up, the "keep it quiet" effort will have been for naught, as the rest of the EBOR will then know about it. Comes up where? This is not a matter for an EBOR.


Do I pass him along for his EBOR and say nothing? Don't know. Has he met the requirements for an EBOR? If so, yes. If not, no. Is your real question, did he meet requirement 2 (Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your daily life) - he should have letters from both of his parents that should help with this.


This is a no brainer for me. If the requirements are met, as SM, sign the Eagle application. The parents do get to weigh in at the EBOR via their written feedback if they wish.




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