Boy Scouts’ Try For Redemption – Too Little Too Late?

by Diane Dimond on October 8, 2012

There’s No Honor In Waiting Too Long


I’d like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to the Boy Scouts of America – NOT.

The national organization has just announced it will reveal to police the names of men it has suspected in the past of stalking young boy scouts for sexual purposes.

Well, finally! When you look at the history of this you see it is long past due.

This oftentimes revered organization was founded in 1910 and almost immediately officials started to keep secret files on sexual predators who hovered around attempting to prey on young boys.

Victim’s Lawyer Moves Boxes of ‘Perversion Files’

Commendable of them to try to keep some sort of record but unfortunately the Boy Scouts’ hierarchy never reported the suspected child molesters to law enforcement. Back then such perversions were not a topic fit for public discussion so the BSA’s so-called “perversion files” (officially called the “ineligible volunteer list”) were kept secret. The child molesters were left to roam free.

Decades went by and the number of secret files grew and grew and grew. The New York Times reports has reported that by 1935 the Scouts had 2,910 “cards” on men who were not suitable to be around young boys.

In more modern times BSA officials came to their senses – sometimes – and the police were notified about some of the most egregious cases. In the early 1990’s a handful of the perversion files were released to the public through the courts. They revealed that from 1971 to 1991 BSA officials had repeatedly failed to contact authorities about suspected pedophiles operating within their organization – even in cases where they had a confession! Shameful. Perhaps criminal. Again, child molesters were left to roam free.

After that stunning revelation the Boy Scouts of America vowed to do better. Whether they did is subject to interpretation. I think the BSA did not do nearly what it should have to make sure their scouts and their communities were safe.

Dykes Admitted Molesting Scouts, Was Allowed to Stay

In 2010, a lawsuit was filed by a former Boy Scout in Portland, Oregon who claimed that in the 80’s the organization failed to protect him from Timur Dykes, an assistant scout master who had already admitted he had molested scouts but was allowed to work with boys anyway. After seeing some of the perversion files the jury awarded the former scout $18.5 million dollars. The once secret files shown during the Dykes trial have now been ordered to be released to the public. They are expected to be available later this month – after victim’s and accuser’s names have been redacted.

And, now, suddenly in advance of the release of those bombshell files – kept between the years 1965 and 1985 – the Boy Scouts of America steps up to make its seemingly altruistic announcement. They apparently plan to scour their perversion files to find the names of suspected pedophiles who have slipped through and the cracks and turn the names over to law enforcement agencies around the country. They’ve hired a former police detective named Mike Johnson to lead the review.

Loyal Scouts ( & Others) Deserved Better Protection

This, after the Boy Scouts of America spent multiple decades caring more about its reputation than making sure child predators were locked up and scouts were kept safe? Color me not very impressed. It sounds like an awfully familiar modes operandi, doesn’t it?

I believe that in this post-Catholic Church/Jerry Sandusky era all thinking people realize that covering up child molestation has terrible and lasting consequences. One, it lets the predator-monster loose to prey on more children. Two, it leaves behind damaged souls who never got justice for what was done to them as children. Our prisons are full of convicts who report they were childhood victims of sex abuse and that in their psychological confusion and pent-up shame they turned to drugs, violence and crime.

How Many Victim/Scouts Stayed Silent?

By waiting this long to do the right thing the Boy Scouts of America has committed another sin in the eyes of childhood molestation victims everywhere. The group’s prolonged silence and inaction boils down to this: it is too damn late in some states for victims to ever get justice. The statute of limitations on such crimes has run out. Yes, release of the perversion files may result in new criminal prosecutions but even a suspect’s confession is not enough. Any prosecutor will tell you they also need a complaining victim to come forward to testify and that will not be an easy task. After all these years these now-grown men might very well want to keep their nightmare a secret.

Don’t Scout Masters Take an Oath Too?

So, thanks, Boy Scouts of America. I’ve heard the BSA’s claim that the organization has been doing all it could to prevent sex abuse within the ranks. But you earn no merit badge from me for your assertion that you spent a century tracking known pedophiles to keep them away from young scouts. It was simply not enough and the BSA should have known that years ago. Congratulations, you’ve earned your place in the Hall of Shame right behind the Catholic Church, Penn State University and every other group that has chosen its reputation over justice.

You’ve got a long way to go to untarnish the Boy Scout image.



{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Sweet October 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm

My sons were in the scouts and there were always doubts about some of the leaders. I had to watch my kids like a hawk. That organization draws molestors into their club. There are many good people there but the higher ups turn a blind eye. I came across two that were actually caught and a third one that should have been. Some scout masters fake the needed paperwork to fill out for some of their assistants. Scouts are not supposed to sleep with adults on campouts, not even parents. I’ve seen scouts climb out of a scoutmasters tent before and nobody did anything after I brought it to their attention. I’ve lost my trust in them


Diane Dimond October 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Patrick writes:

‘Diane, a fine blog on the BSA. In case you’re interested, here is a link to a book about sex abuse in the BSA and how the org handled it. (Free on line.) Bottom line is that we reported 20 yrs ago that the BSA had let molesters go free. Internet and Church scandal have pushed them to change their ways in the wake of new publicity. ”


Diane Dimond October 8, 2012 at 11:14 pm

ABQ Reader Daisy Swadesh writes:

“Thank you for your just published article on the BSA and child molestation.
May I raise an issue?

Boy Scouts of America is the latest group being called to account on the issue of child molestation.
But when will the APA (American Psychiatric Assn.) be called on the carpet?

Psychiatrists were among the first to hear the stories of victims (the APA was founded in 1844), but until the 1980s they refused to accept them at face value. Freud labelled his patients’ accounts of molestation as fantasies of what the child had desired and that criteria was accepted for a long, long time.
It was the women’s movement, after sharing their stories in discussion groups in the 1970s, that brought child molestation to the public forum.
And the APAs continued refusal to fully address the aftereffects of child abuse and molestation profoundly affected how the Catholic Church, schools, including institutions of higher learning, and organizations such as the Boy Scouts responded.

Psychiatrists are still misdiagnosing survivors with psychiatric diagnoses–schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorders, etc.–implying these are inborn defects, not behavior problems originating in trauma. Or it’s labelled an “anxiety disorder” involving worrying and obsessing instead of a condition that includes an alteration of physiological processes.

In addition, for over 20 years the APA has ignored a growing group of therapists, counselors, social workers and researchers–including some who are members of the APA–who have been trying to get included in the Diagnostic Manual (DSM) what is, at long last, being called Developmental Trauma (DTD). (That is to say, the trauma interferes with childhood development).

Meanwhile, as long as DTD isn’t listed in the DSM it doesn’t officially exist and so research money is hard to get. It’s a Catch-22.

The DSM is in the process of a new revision scheduled for publication in 2013. Earlier this year the APA finally allowed feedback, including from laypeople.

As an older survivor of both-parent incest and extreme emotional abuse I have lived through decades of the difficulties. (Both my parents were PhDs and there was no substance abuse involved).
I can understand that some MH professionals are loathe to reexamine and probably revise what could be millions of diagnoses to include the issue of trauma, but for survivors misdiagnoses added greatly to the burden we already carried.
It’s time for the doctors to do a bit of suffering for the good of everyone.

I hope you will investigate this. One place to start is the website of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Mass. If you would like further information you can call or e-mail me.

Daisy Swadesh


Diane Dimond October 9, 2012 at 5:03 am

Facebook Friend Darryl DuPont writes:

“The BSA have long been a haven for pedophiles. Scout leaders, like priests, were usually “up-standing” or influential members of the community, especially in smaller towns, so a blind eye to accusations by a scout were swept under the rug. This release of names now seems like some sort of legal maneuver to avoid lawsuits rather than a “caring” action.”


Brian Andrew October 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I too am saddened to learn of pedophiles infiltrating the Boy Scouts of America and the apparent problems in reporting these abuses. But let’s wait for the facts and allow the courts to decide where the blame and shame belongs, should numerous claims become public. Allow me to provide you a first-hand perspective of BSA in Florida.

I was reminded recently that my memories and association with BSA have been wonderful. Last month I attended two funerals three weeks apart in the same church 150 miles from my home. These two men were assistant Scout masters 40 years ago and volunteered hundreds of hours with their sons and other scouts like me. I was able to earn over 40 merit badges because men like these two would prepare, teach and test us on various topics. Success breeds success and our troop grew and us boys thrived with the camping, canoeing, archery, exploring and water activities.

One day ten of us from the same troop in the same neighborhood received our Eagle award at a court of honor. This set a national record for the most Eagle scouts in a court of honor and earned us recognition and a proclamation from the U.S. Congress. The church that hosted these two funerals recently has a plague with our names on it in the fellowship hall. I got reconnected with several of my scouting buddies and they are solid citizens, fathers and husbands too.

As a Scout, I’m tired of the BSA being unfairly attacked on a variety of issues. Folks might say BSA is for sissy boys and a place where single moms outsource fatherhood, or BSA is anti-gay and anti-women. But Scouts to me was a bunch of loving and imperfect men trying their best to balance work and life while investing in the next generation of men. But under no circumstances would any scout leader, in my old troop or in the ones I’ve served as an adult leader, ever allow a claim of sexual misconduct to go unreported. In fact, we were trained to act and confront danger and save others from harm. One day while swimming in a freshwater spring, I had to react and dive down twenty feet, without SCUBA tanks, and retrieve an unconscious man wearing a weight belt and tow him to shore. I was only fourteen, but I was trained to save a life by the Boy Scouts. I wasn’t lucky or scared, rather humbled and prepared. I was later featured in Boys Life magazine and awarded the scouting Medal of Honor for risking my life and saving another and the news media and Readers Digest began to contact my family seeking a story. In the 1970s journalistic values seem different than today. Just like negative campaign ads, articles that attack leaders and institutions work and please editors and readers more than uplifting and affirming profiles of people or institutions making America better. Can you write a few more positive articles in your columns?

In contrast to your conclusion, the BSA spent multiple decades caring about scouts and their safety. BSA, based on the evidence presented to date, does not belong in the Hall of Shame. With your harsh and venomous article you have further wounded a worthy organization. I hope you will look for the good within BSA while we both condemn the individuals responsible for pedophile actions and managment mistakes.


Diane Dimond October 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I’m very pleased to print your letter. And, it has reminded me that there are ALWAYS two sides to every story. No doubt countless thousands of scouts have had a wonderful experience at their local Boy Scouts of America troop and that makes me very happy. Not too long ago I wrote a column about the Girl Scouts of America and their work to bring the program to mothers in prison.
My personal charity is the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. I’m for any group that helps nurture, mature and provide fellowship to children. I’m NOT for any group or person who performs or acts to cover up the sexual assault of children.
Thank you very much for writing the other side for me and my readers. ~ DD


Brad Pedersen October 11, 2012 at 2:29 am

I can’t help but wonder how many stories such as this ( have never been reported by the LDS Church. As a major BSA supporter and with a troop or more in every ward across the country there has to be a significant number that have been swept under the rug so to speak.


CLS October 11, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Has there been any kind of extensive coverage of pedophiles who have molested groups of girls? Every child deserves to be protected, so I’m glad pedophiles who have wormed their way into organizations, in order to have easy access to boys, have been caught. However, it seems the only time the sexual abuse of girls is mentioned is when the crime is so horrifyingly bad it can’t be ignored.

In Chile, it was learned a priest had been sexually abusing young girls. But it seems to be the only time I’ve read about such an incident involving a pedophile predating groups of young girls.


Diane Dimond October 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Huffington Post Reader Naturallycurly writes:

“I don’t understand why parents continue to allow their children to join the scouts. Yes, it offers a great opportunity to learn and socialize – but at what cost? If your children are in the boy scouts, have you written the adminstration to express unhappiness with the way they deal with child molesters? Have you asked your child about the behaviour of the adults he encounters in the group? Clearly the background checks will not catch every predator. What have you done to prepare your child for the possibility of an assault? An assault on a friend?
Luckily I have girls. They will have many challenges, but dealing with an intolerant, bigoted, and incompetent organization like the scouts is not one of them.”


Diane Dimond October 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Huffington Post Reader JBS writes:

“Back many years ago when I was a boy scout, every troop had a sponsor. My troop was sponsored by the church I attended. All of the adult leaders for the troop were from the church.

When I was a cub scout there was always someone’s mom at every meeting. Later when I was old enough to be a boy scout there was always someone’s dad went along on camping trips and such. It wasn’t always the same moms & dads even if some of them had more time for the kids than others, but it was a community effort.

That doesn’t guarantee the leadership is always going to be upstanding, but if you’ve got kids of scouting age (including girls) YOU should be involved with whatever troop, pack or whatever they call them in the girl-scouts.

The best way to stop the predators is to be there watching out for them before they can worm their way into your kids lives.”


Diane Dimond October 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Huffington Post reader ColoradoBMan writes:

“A group’s future should not be condemned by its past. Obviously addressing the situation so late in the game if not favorable or portrays the BSA in a possitive lights but one bad apple should not ruin the bunch. Obviously moving forward the BSA is implementing new guidelines and training to ensure predators are recognized which includes a background check.

Shame on them for never reporting but it would be far worse if society not allow them to get improve or show ways of improving. Hundreds of Thousands of children have been involved with the scouts and I’m certain they’ll be thousands more.”


Diane Dimond October 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Huffington Post reader Rob Ferris writes:

“What abhorrent people the Boy Scouts’ administrators are. It’s sad that in cases like this, it’s always the children who will lose out.”


Diane Dimond October 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Noozhawk Reader Really? writes:

“» Really? on 10.07.12 @ 11:03 AM

BSA cannot get a break. Jews refuse to allow their kids to join because they have a ban on homosexuals as a direct result of problems. Cannot have BSA literature in the schools… same reason. The list goes on.

In the 1960’s-70’s when I was a Scout, any possible activity detected by the local leadership was dealt with immediately. Remember this was a time when “proving” a criminal activity was far more difficult with the DA’s office.

A good organization doing its best again attacked.

I have seen open homosexual activity among GSA leaders at official events and public locations. Where is the indignation providing an exhibit of a lifestyle most would not want their children to follow?”


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