Boy Scouts failed to heed church’s lesson

Since the 1960s, the official organization of Boy Scouts have amassed more than 14,000 documents alleging complaints of sexual abuse by scoutmasters or volunteers.

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Opinion

February 20, 2020 - 9:58 AM

Attorney Stewart Eisenberg, left, speaks during a press conference held by the Abused in Scouting legal team Aug. 6, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Photo by (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

Boy Scouts of America has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect the organization and its multibillion-dollar assets from seizure amid hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. A once-venerable institution, credited by generations of business and military leaders with grounding them in the fundamentals for success in life, finds itself in the same kind of crisis of trust facing the Catholic Church.

The Boy Scouts knew of the problem — it even kept a secret “perversion file” to internally track molestation allegations against scoutmasters — but didn’t take forceful action when abuse cases surfaced. In covering up the problem rather than dealing with it, the organization may have sealed its own fate. Its insurers are threatening not to cover losses from these lawsuits.

America’s largest youth organization was founded in 1910 to promote character, citizenship and self-reliance. Americans who have credited scouting with influencing their lives include Martin Luther King Jr., astronaut Neil Armstrong, basketball great Michael Jordan, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and many U.S. military and political leaders, including several presidents.

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