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#244306 - 08/13/08 02:42 PM Boy Scouts and CSA
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Brothers force Scouts to reveal abuse scope
Thousands of suspect leaders detailed
August 29, 2007

BY JONATHAN MARTIN

SEATTLE TIMES

SEATTLE -- Like many other boys who grew up in the early 1980s, Tom and Matt Stewart shared a childhood of hikes, campouts and fishing trips, most of it thanks to the Boy Scouts of America.

It was a program that kept the brothers involved in their Federal Way, Wash., troop all the way to Eagle Scouts. Years later, Tom Stewart became a Scoutmaster for his own sons.


But as they became adults and moved a thousand miles apart, each brother privately struggled with memories that neither wanted to talk about: of sexual abuse they had suffered at the hands of their Scoutmaster, Bruce Phelps.
After decades of silence, the Stewart brothers grew convinced they weren't alone. In 2003, they sued the Boy Scouts and their former Scoutmaster and won an out-of-court settlement.

Four years later, the case has become a landmark in the 97-year history of the Boy Scouts. For the first time, the Boy Scouts of America has been forced to turn over to the Stewarts' attorneys its entire archive on sexually abusive Scout leaders.

The previously private records show that 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 last 15 years alone, the organization has kicked out leaders for such allegations at a rate of one every other day.

The 45 boxes of files aren't public because of a court order, which prohibits the Stewarts and their lawyers from disclosing specific cases. But a statistical summary of the files, provided by the Stewarts' attorneys, shows the problem is larger than previously known.

Boy Scouts officials won't talk about the cases, but they note that ejected volunteers represent a small fraction of the 1.2 million adults who participate in Scouting every year. They also stress that they now have rules, including background checks and training, that didn't exist when Phelps was abusing Scouts.

Phelps declined to be interviewed, but he has admitted to abusing the brothers and two other boys in sworn testimony. He has never been convicted of a crime.

Hidden abuses

"The Boy Scouts is very unique because there is a very dangerous bond between Scout and Scoutmaster," said Tom Stewart, now a 44-year-old Boeing engineer. "You are out in the middle of nowhere on an outing, and the Scoutmaster is God."

The abuse involving the Stewart brothers, including oral and anal sex, persisted through high school, the brothers say -- at Scout outings and camps, at a drive-in movie theater, at Phelps' house and in the Stewarts' basement while their parents were upstairs.

Their parents let them spend weekends at Phelps' house on the pretext of working on merit badges, even after Phelps had moved to West Seattle, where he led another Scout troop.

"He would say, 'OK, that knot looks fine; you got your merit badge -- now let's have sex,' " said Matt Stewart, now a 42-year-old pharmaceutical salesman in Palm Desert, Calif.

The Stewarts said they stayed quiet about the abuse because Phelps threatened to shoot their parents -- or himself. They said they believed him because he often carried a revolver.

"I was constantly scared," Matt Stewart said.

In a deposition for the brothers' lawsuit, Phelps denied making the threats.

But according to a police report, Phelps admitted to a detective that he had abused the Stewarts and two other boys. The detective wrote that he called the regional Scouting office, but no one returned the call.

Despite Phelps' confession, the case was closed without charges being filed because the statute of limitations had expired, the detective wrote.

Phelps' name wasn't added to the Boy Scouts' secret Ineligible Volunteers Files until the Stewarts sued in 2003. The organization later said the lawsuit was the first time anyone had complained about him.

Many offenders

But there have been complaints about thousands of other Scout leaders in the United States.

In fact, since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has kept files on volunteers it considers to be unfit, including sexual abusers, criminals and homosexuals. The organization has periodically purged the files, according to depositions in other cases.

As early as 1935, the organization had files on about 1,000 so-called degenerates. The Stewarts' attorneys counted 732 files from 1946 to 1971.

Gregg Shields, a spokesman for the national Boy Scouts office in Irving, Texas, said the files are intended to prevent ejected Scout leaders from bouncing into new leadership roles among the 300 councils nationwide.

"It is merely a suspicion or belief, a question of fitness of an individual in the Boy Scouts," he said.

"We are a private organization, and we can extend leadership positions to whomever we see fit."

The organization guards the contents of the files but has been forced to turn over parts of them a handful of times.

To get the full set, the Stewarts' attorneys fought the Boy Scouts up to the Washington Supreme Court.


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#244308 - 08/13/08 03:08 PM Re: Boy Scouts and CSA [Re: pufferfish]
BJK Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Holy shit... 5,100 scoutmasters dismissed due to abuse allegations in the last 60 years? That's 85 abusers per year, and if we conservatively estimate a dozen abused boys per abuser (and I suspect the number is much higher, though no one can give a concrete statistic), that's over 1,000 boys per year.

And these are just the ones who have been caught.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#244596 - 08/14/08 08:56 PM Re: Boy Scouts and CSA [Re: BJK]
melliferal Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
These days the Boy Scouts have a decent troop-level abuse awareness program, one that's better than any other group's, I think. There are rules like two-deep adult leadership at all events (at least two adults present), and no single adult allowed with any single scout (who isn't the adult's child) out of sight of other adults or scouts. And, by the way, at least one of those two-adults-at-the-minimum has to have been certified in the BSA's child abuse prevention and detection training. But this doesn't help if there's an adult leader who is a predator. He will simply ignore the two-deep requirement. Or he'll attend the training and not make any of the other adult leaders take it.

It also doesn't help in the (I would guess extremely rare) occasion that both of the two adults are predators and in league with each other, or in the (likely more common) occasion that the two (or however many) scouts are all victims.

And when it comes to identified predators, the BSA gives absolutely no help at all. I belonged to a troop in my mid-to-late teens. I only made Life, but when I turned 18 I stayed as an ASM for a couple of years. There was one man, early thirties or so, who showed up to one of our meetings to volunteer. He seemed to be knowledgeable and trustworthy, and explained that he had been an ASM at another troop, but ended up quitting because of a nasty dispute with that troop's SM over some procedural issue or other, in which the District "took the SM's side". Our leadership had dealt with that troop's leadership before and had an extremely low opinion of them; so our Committee Chairman did not contact that troop. And we weren't big fans of the District either, but he did contact them to make sure at the very least that this man had, indeed, been an adult leader on file. Upon hearing his name, the lady at the District office curtly explained that she could not discuss him or anything about him. That made no sense to our CC.

The man was not at the next week's meeting. A few days later he was in the newspaper as having been arrested for abusing boys - I think it may have involved scouts in the troop he belonged to, but I can't be completely certain. In any case, the organizational leadership did not warn us about him when we asked, even though now it's fairly obvious they knew about what he had done.

Oh, certainly, the BSA WILL remove any leader that is the subject of any allegation - whether those allegations are fruitful or not. But they will do nothing else.

Did I mention, by the way, that at the aforementioned abuse prevention and detection training, you are instructed that if a scout comes to you with an allegation involving another scout or an adult leader, you are NOT to call the police under any circumstance, but are to instead call the District liason "on the next business day", and let the District deal with the situation?

_________________________
Children cannot consent; they can only comply.

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#244607 - 08/14/08 09:57 PM Re: Boy Scouts and CSA [Re: melliferal]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Originally Posted By: melliferal

Did I mention, by the way, that at the aforementioned abuse prevention and detection training, you are instructed that if a scout comes to you with an allegation involving another scout or an adult leader, you are NOT to call the police under any circumstance, but are to instead call the District liason "on the next business day", and let the District deal with the situation?


Screw that. I'm going right to the boy's parents, and if they don't take proper actions, the next stop is social services.

Thanks for the post. It was very enlightening.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#244613 - 08/14/08 10:24 PM Re: Boy Scouts and CSA [Re: BJK]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Trusting them with 2 deep lay-us-on and not notifying the police sounds like too much to believe.

It is probably illegal NOT to notify the police in cases of abuse.

Puffer

one of the dictionary definitions of liaison = An adulterous relationship; an affair.





Edited by pufferfish (08/15/08 12:46 AM)

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#244621 - 08/14/08 10:47 PM Re: Boy Scouts and CSA [Re: melliferal]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6607
Loc: FEMA Region 1
Originally Posted By: melliferal

Did I mention, by the way, that at the aforementioned abuse prevention and detection training, you are instructed that if a scout comes to you with an allegation involving another scout or an adult leader, you are NOT to call the police under any circumstance, but are to instead call the District liason "on the next business day", and let the District deal with the situation?


To NOT call the police upon receiving a report of abuse is a criminal act of negligence and possible obstruction in many/most states.

Rules such as these are in NO WAY enforceable or even legal. They are hoping you will observe the rule so that they can then obstruct and witness-tamper.

BTW: Universities and Colleges are infamous for this type of shielding. On-campus crime must peirce a well built wall of such obstruction before it gets to any real law enforcement. One main role for Campus Security is to maintain the wall of secrecy. I was witness to this first-hand at my Grad-school Univ.

_________________________
Hell needs firewood too ya know!

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#244823 - 08/15/08 06:25 PM Re: Boy Scouts and CSA [Re: BJK]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Man, I could post all night on this thread!!!!

Originally Posted By: BJK
Holy shit... 5,100 scoutmasters dismissed due to abuse allegations in the last 60 years? That's 85 abusers per year, and if we conservatively estimate a dozen abused boys per abuser (and I suspect the number is much higher, though no one can give a concrete statistic), that's over 1,000 boys per year.

And these are just the ones who have been caught.

I can tell you, Bryan, that my friend and I know of at least 6 other boys that we can say with almost certainty were abused by the same man who abused us. That's 8 out of a troop of maybe 30-40 boys who attended more or less regularly. There were others, sure, but we were less certain about them. By "certain", I mean stuff like this: "Why not? It's the same thing we do with Mr. ******. I saw you at his house."

Of the 8 of us, one committed suicide in juvey and another ODed awhile back.

I checked on the number of victims a perp might have, and in the stuff I read it was stated that among abusers who abuse boys outside the family circle, the average number of victims is 150.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#244825 - 08/15/08 06:29 PM Re: Boy Scouts and CSA [Re: melliferal]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Mell,

Originally Posted By: melliferal
Did I mention, by the way, that at the aforementioned abuse prevention and detection training, you are instructed that if a scout comes to you with an allegation involving another scout or an adult leader, you are NOT to call the police under any circumstance, but are to instead call the District liason "on the next business day", and let the District deal with the situation?

I wonder how old those materials are, because failure to report the abuse of a child would be an actionable offense under the mandatory reporting laws of all states now. It would be stunning if the BSA were advising its local leaders to break the law.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#244826 - 08/15/08 06:39 PM Re: Boy Scouts and CSA [Re: roadrunner]
lost child Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/13/07
Posts: 8
Loc: in usa
I was also abused in Scouts,It was my patrol leader, he fouced me to have oral sex with him. There were other boys to. The scout master also abused some of the orher boys in the gruop. The cout master was arested and served time. They never about me and the others boys in our gruop. I hated him and was glade he got caught.


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#244828 - 08/15/08 06:58 PM Re: Boy Scouts and CSA [Re: lost child]
conflicted Offline


Registered: 08/02/08
Posts: 45
Loc: Greenville, SC
ok, much is stacked against the BSA. However, I am a scoutmaster of a troop of about 20-30, and we are very careful to make sure that none of this is ever alleged... we take the high road. Not all troops have a problem with this. Hats off to the others that are doing a great job.

_________________________
Masquerades are a lot of fun, until you see it is really your life.


my story...finally out *triggers*

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