Joe asked:

Leon, how have the Scouts followed up on this, since the incident is at least 30 years old? Are stricter controls in place? Do the Scouts now have a policy of informing the police if one of their leaders molests a Scout?

I was a scout leader in my sons’ troop, but I have not been in the scouts’ administration, so I do not know how their internal policies function in practice.

Even twenty years ago, we had to undergo child protection training, which I thought was very good.

The scouts are a volunteer organization, and the scouts office can set policies, but it is difficult or not impossible to monitor whether scout leaders are in fact following policies.

One rule is that a single adult is not supposed to be alone with scouts, but this is difficult to observe universally. If two adults were along on a trip and a boy was injured, one adult had to take the boy to the emergency room while the other ran the program.

Parents are too trusting, When my oldest son became a scout, I started to go along on camping trips to monitor how things were going, and I was both satisfied and pleased and became a leader myself. But many parents just dropped their kids off and didn’t even know who we were. I thought this unwise.

Out troop leaders were all fathers of boys who were or had been in the troop, and almost all the leaders had grown up on Baltimore, a city small enough that everyone’s reputation and faults are widely known. We discussed problems other troops had had, and we decided that we would never allow a single male adult to become a leader, especially not someone from out of town. Other troops did not have this luxury – they were desperate for male leadership and had to take anyone who looked respectable.

The scouts have a watch list of known and suspected pedophiles. I know because I had a priest placed on it.

The scouts say they have no secret organizations,, but they have the Order of the Arrow – it is a semisecret service organization. Boys (and men) love secrecy – think of the Masons. I remember reading decades ago of a leader who used the Order of the Arrow as a cover for abuse – he claimed sexual hazing rituals were part of the initiation.

Any organization or profession that gives access to children will attract pedophiles, who will go to extraordinary lengths to achieve their goal of having sex with children. I am sure that some abusers entered the priesthood solely for the purpose of having sexual access to children. The diocese of Dallas considered having Rudy Kos’s ordination annulled. I do not have the documents that discussed the grounds for it, but I suspect it was what I have suggested – his only intention in entering the priesthood was to facilitate committing crimes.

From what I have seen, pedophilia is not simply a desire to have sex with children, a desire parallel to most people’s desires to have sex with sexually mature persons (of the same or opposite sex). It is something quite different and is hard for non-pedophiles, even psychologists and psychiatrists, to comprehend. It is therefore difficult for organization like the scouts and churches to prevent completely, but, of course, after the first incident, the abuser should never have access to children again, and that is where many organizations have failed.

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