Scouting events tended to take place after school and on weekends, the same time that sports practices and games took place. I'm sure some kids found a way to do both, but it always seemed like an either/or proposition for me.
Since I was always more into playing ball than hanging out in forests, it was an easy decision to choose sports. After reading the latest news about The Boy Scouts of America, I think that was a wise choice.
As an adult, and a progressive who supports equal rights for gays, I'm blown away by the hypocrisy that seems to permeate Scouting in America.
An Oregon lawsuit has uncovered evidence that the Boy Scouts have long kept an extensive archive of secret documents that chronicle the sexual abuse of young boys by Scout leaders over the years. Scouts officials reportedly gave the documents the charming name of the "perversion files."
Attorney Kelly Clark represents a 37-year-old Oregon man who is seeking $14 million in damages, saying he was sexually molested in the early 1980s by an assistant Scoutmaster named Timur Dykes. Reports The New York Daily News:
Clark said the victim suffered mental health problems, bad grades in school, drug use, anxiety, difficulty maintaining relationships and lost several jobs over the years because of the abuse.
Dykes was convicted three times between 1983 and 1994 of sexually abusing boys, most of them Scouts.
Although there have been dozens of lawsuits against the organization over sex abuse allegations, judges for the most part have either denied requests for the files or the lawsuits have been settled before they went to trial.
The Boy Scouts had fought to keep the files being used in the Portland trial confidential. But they lost a pretrial legal battle when the Oregon Supreme Court rejected their argument that opening the files could damage the lives and reputations of people not a party to the lawsuit.
Could the Boy Scouts wind up with a scandal similar to the one that has enveloped the Catholic Church? And what about the Scouts' long-held contention that homosexuality is inconsistent with their values?
My impression has been that Scout leaders tend to be parents of boys who are Scouts. In other words, Scout leaders tend to be married and therefore not homosexual--at least by appearances.
So isn't it curious, and more than a little sickening, that an organization standing against homosexuality would for years tolerate child molesters among its leaders--especially when quite a few of those molesters probably were married men?
My guess is that most rational people long have concluded that there is no link between homosexuality and child molestation. Isn't it ironic that a case involving the Boy Scouts now seems to provide more proof that there is no such link? If parents want to cast a wary eye toward someone, the "perversion files" seem to suggest they should look toward a married man who has children.
The stakes are high in the Oregon case. Writes The New York Daily News:
The Portland trial comes as the Boy Scouts are marking their 100th anniversary.
"They spent a century building the Boy Scout brand," said Patrick Boyle, author of a book about sex abuse in the Boy Scouts. "It's one of the most respected organizations in the world."
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