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By Diogenes (articles - email) | Aug 25, 2007

A lawsuit brought by two brothers in Seattle has revealed that the Boy Scouts of America have a problem with sexual abuse.

It's a serious problem. But-- here's the interesting thing-- the Boy Scouts have treated it seriously.

The previously private records show the Boy Scouts have ejected at least 5,100 adult leaders nationwide for sexual abuse allegations since 1946. And the files reveal that despite efforts to keep potential abusers from joining, the problems persist: In the past 15 years alone, the organization has kicked out leaders for such allegations at a rate of once every other day.

Take note of that term: "kicked out." The Boy Scouts don't transfer an abusive scoutmaster to another troop. They don't send him off for a few weeks of R&R and then welcome him back into the tent. They kick him out.

Ah, but we've all learned a great deal in these last few years. Up until quite recently, nobody knew how serious pedophilia was. Or at least that's what our bishops have told us, right?

In fact, since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has kept files on volunteers it considers "unfit," including sexual abusers, criminals and even homosexuals.

Even homosexuals? The Boy Scout brass hasn't been reading from the same script as the USCCB leadership, has it? They haven't learned to remind the public that homosexuality and pedophilia are Different Things. They haven't learned to caution against "scapegoating" molestors.

In fact they haven't learned much at all from the psychological insights provided by the shrinks who have advised American bishops in the past generation.

According to the files opened by the Stewarts' lawyers, the Boy Scouts ejected a leader, on average, once every three days between 1971 and 1990.

And if you think of what our bishops were doing about sexual abuse over the same period, you can readily understand why the Boy Scouts have been forced to close down more than 80 troops in the Boston area.

Oh wait. The Boy Scouts haven't been forced to close down more than 80 troops in the Boston area. Excuse the confusion. I must be thinking of something else.

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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