Scouts' anguish: Leadership failed youth by protecting predators

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The Catholic Church hierarchy isn't the only male-dominated organization that had a difficult time protecting children from sexual predators in its midst. It took an order from the Oregon Supreme Court to force the Boy Scouts of America to release more than 5,000 names listed in its "ineligible volunteers files."

It is unconscionable that the Boy Scouts sat on a list of suspected and confirmed pedophiles for decades without sharing it with authorities. And it's no consolation that men who were believed to have been child molesters were kicked out of scout troops, yet rarely turned over to the police.

Some of the blacklisted scoutmasters wound their way into other troops where they continued to abuse young victims. The "perversion files" as they became known, were compiled between 1947 and 2005. They contain the names of self-admitted pedophiles as well as people who have never been convicted of sex crimes, including 40 in Western Pennsylvania.

This is similar to the situation that confronted the Catholic Church during its own struggle with reporting pedophiles. The result has cost both organizations institutional esteem.

The Boy Scouts organization has admitted the insufficiency, inappropriateness and ineptness of its response to these crimes. Its humility is refreshing, but it comes too late for hundreds of youths who were assaulted by sexual predators over the years.

Now that the names of alleged abusers are circulating, there is little that can be done for many of their victims due to statutes of limitation. But for the others, now is the time to press their case. Justice that tarries is better than no justice at all.

opinion_editorials


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