A wake-up call for the Boy Scouts


Yesterday, a 17-year-old victim of child sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts filed a sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against the local Sacramento council and the national Boy Scout organization.

The victim, who waited until after he earned the honor of Eagle Scout to file the lawsuit, was molested by a former Assistant Scout Master who was criminally convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with the victim in this case as well as another boy. The convicted Scout Master is also an Eagle Scout.


The victim held up his end of the bargain. Now it’s time for the Scouts to uphold theirs.

I was honored to be at the press conference and speak with the victim and his father. It’s not often that I get to meet victims who are brave enough to come forward at such a young age.

And there were also some pretty disturbing revelations. The molester in this case was young—20 years old at the time of the abuse. He sexually assaulted the victim when he was 13 and 15.

Why are the Scouts liable? Other scout leaders were inclined to give the predator a “pass.” Even though they saw suspicious and/or criminal behavior, they thought that a former Eagle Scout was beyond reproach. Others may have also considered the 20-year-old predator “one of the boys” and did not understand the severe imbalance of power that existed.

Not only was the victim a child and the predator an adult—but the victim in this case wanted to be an Eagle Scout. The only way to do that? Uphold the Boy Scout Law:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
brave, clean, and reverent.

And when your scoutmaster (who is a fairly recent Eagle Scout) holds your future and dreams in his grip, your options are clear: Obedience, reverence, and loyalty.

The victim was physically, emotionally and psychologically powerless … but he’s not anymore.

The lesson here: No oath or law will protect your child. It’s up to parents and caregivers to protect, inform, and empower.


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