The Boy Scout Perversion Files: Where Damnation Lies

It’s a sad fact of life that almost wherever an organization exists that gives adults a chance for unmonitored access to children, pedophiles are likely to gather. It’s easy to confuse correlation with causation: “The Catholic Church has a problem with pedophiles because they don’t allow their priests to marry” is one of the more asinine theories I’ve heard. Who among you would resort to preying upon children were you forbidden by social contract to avoid intimate contact with the adults you find sexually attractive? It’s a repulsive implication, and one that should raise more questions about those who posit it than the behavior they seek to explain. No, open access to children along with a plausible justification for having it will attract pedophiles.

Avoiding a segue into the general psychological healthiness of imposed celibacy or criticism of the stated values of organization like the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church (suffice it to say that I hold major criticisms against both) there is a problem with throwing out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to pedophilia: There are well-meaning priests and good Boy Scout leaders, men who want to help the young people entrusted to their care. Unfortunately, there are predators among them, and screening them out is an imperfect process. A few occasionally slip through.

It is with the stringency of this screening process and what these organizations do when confronted with criminal sexual conduct that our criticism – and damnation – should be directed. (At least, when it comes to the issue of pedophilia) The Catholic Church’s well-documented protection of pedophile priests and cover up of their crimes is despicable. The growing rumors that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger engaged in this process yet still managed to be elected Pope points to a deep level of complicity that should trouble even the most devoted Roman Catholic.

Now, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) find themselves in a similar predicament following the release of the “Perversion Files”: a document of 14,500 pages documenting individuals barred from the organization following incidences of child molestation. These files were held confidentially by the BSA until a 2007 lawsuit by former Boy Scout Kerry Lewis who accused the organization of failing to protect him against child predators. The files, posted online by Lewis’ attorney, is damning: that the organization, much like the Catholic Church, had full knowledge of criminal sexual acts and in most cases its only response was to ban those who committed them, speaks to a deep institutional sickness. How many adults knew about this and made the decision not to speak to authorities? Too many.

The organization that describes itself as “…one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship…” has set a horrific example for its young charges by covering for the men who victimized them. So much for the “responsibilities of participating citizenship” and “values-based youth development”. If there’s a value to be learned here, it is that the safety of children is of secondary concern to the protection of a hypocritical facade.

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  • alizardx

    Is it my imagination or did this problem get far worse after the right-wing takeover of BSA?

    • BuzzCoastin

      the thing about pedophilia, it’s dark secret, if you will
      is that it has long been a part of Western culture
      the Greeks & Etruscans were notorious for man/boy relationships
      and girls were often married off around puberty to much older men
      plus
      there have been plenty of rumors and some evidence for
      the pedophilia tendencies of elected officials in the US & EU
      all of it neatly swept under the carpet by obedient mass media
      add to that the rampant incest in the US
      and you have a nation of closet perverts

      • kowalityjesus

        I think it is a fallacy to say pedophilia is a “dark secret…of Western culture.” Two major unrelated groups, the Germans and the Romans, had completely different ideas of marriageable age. The Germanic tribes, it seems, advocated the union of two 20-year-olds or thereabouts. Whereas I have a chart from MacDonnell’s “On the Expectation of Life in Ancient Rome” that shows literally half of all females being betrothed by the age of 15. This data does not lend itself to such a superlative as you stated.

        As for homosexual pedophilia, yes it was an imfamous part of ancient Greek culture but there is enough evidence elsewhere in the world to dampen your overdramatic sentiment.

        “Pedophilia from the Chinese Perspective” by Ng-
        ‘Depictions of “child-romance” in ancient or modern Chinese literature are not difficult to find. They include passages on joyous heterosexual or homosexual activities by children as young as 12 to 13 with one another or with adults. Children are usually described as natural sexual being and erotic stimulation and sex-play are seen as beneficial to their healthy development.’

        It is well-recorded that child-trafficking is a much larger problem in even the First World than anyone would expect. *THIS* is the dark side of western culture, although also not confined to the West at all. I’ve heard the statistic that a runaway will be approached by a child-trafficker on average within 36 hours. I suspect this is one of the blackmails of shame which cause bureaucrats to act in accordance to the wishes of their superiors, the Satanic order, the “spiritual wickedness in high places.”

        • http://twitter.com/jfqbsh Jason F Quackenbush

          One shouldn’t confuse the sexualization of late adolescence and young adulthood, which is a cultural grey area that shifts a bit, with pedophilia which is the eroticization of children who are not yet adults in any way. Those are different kinds of predators who prey on the different groups.

        • BuzzCoastin

          if I wasn’t paid to do nothing
          this wouldn’t be worth my time

          instead of trying to divert attention
          from the fact that you haven’t a clue
          you should be doing heavy mea culpas
          on behalf of your church
          it’s one thing to apologize for it’s perversity
          & another to defend it like a Papist puppet

          the Roman Church hierarchy are Pharisees, whited sepulchres
          they bring shame to the name of Jesus
          and discredit his teachings with their apostasy
          if there is a hell
          they’ll be in the deepest, hottest part of it

          • kowalityjesus

            Im so glad to be your foil so you can rail away while you’re bored.

            If you were as holy as His Holiness, even after the grievance of being head of a hierarchy plagued with immorality, I would yield. As it stands I can easily take ad hominem from someone who doesn’t like concessions even on a factual basis.

  • kowalityjesus

    “the organization, much like the Catholic Church, had full knowledge of criminal sexual acts and in most cases its only response was to ban those who committed them, speaks to a deep institutional sickness. ”

    I hate to be the bearer of unpopular opinions, but maybe the authorities who knew of the ‘adults committing the acts’ had a problem imposing a life fraught with embarrassment and legal repercussions upon a former respected acquaintance or good friend, especially considering their behavior reflected their innate disposition. Perhaps they thought expulsion was enough, instead of making them sideshows like Jerry Sandusky.

    • BuzzCoastin

      lame excuses
      protecting the guilty through lies and obfuscation
      are the acts of criminals between criminals to protect criminals

      the failure of the church to pay reparations to the victims
      adds insult to injury

    • Matt Staggs

      “Say, Bob: I noticed you fucking a kid in yonder sleeping bag. You’ve been a good friend, you’re an alderman in the church…heck, let’s just let this one slide. I suppose we can’t let you be a scout master anymore, but there’s no reason to bring the law into this.”
      *ugh*

      • kowalityjesus

        I do you the honor of opening up the idea that pedophilia was not always looked at as bad in all historical times and contexts. Fuck the media for how they cruelly and unusually treated Jerry Sandusky. Railing on pedophiles seems to be their feel-good activity, when who is REALLY fucking America is left high and dry.

        • Matt Staggs

          You and I agree that trial by public opinion and the culture of scandal are both despicable.

          • kowalityjesus

            I suppose that there are aspects of hypocrisy to my position, given my advocacy for Catholicism and its history of explicitly committing both of those ill-doings. I don’t like to visit reparations for the sins of the fathers on the sons of today, so in that way I am not hypocritical.
            Also, I know mine is not a popular position on the issue, but since that and also it is not very-well known is exactly why I think it needs to be heard, which is what brought out the strong wording in my previous comment. In a way I am sort of playing devil’s advocate, but the issue does provoke me personally in an innocent but poignant manner.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Yeah, I agree about the priest thing. If these various individuals weren’t a pedo they would just get a hooker or something if they couldn’t handle celibacy or go to a gay bathhouse.

    When I was a kid my parents were divorced and my Dad lived thousands of miles away. So my Mom signed me up with the “big brother” program and I went to ballgames and went fishing with this cool dude. I think its a great program but I heard they are having a hard time finding volunteers because of this subject.

    • Matt Staggs

      That’s a great point, Ted, and one I should have covered in the essay: Pedo creeps make it hard out there for decent men who want to help children.

  • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

    I remember vaguely with Girl Scout leader training, they actually specified how you couldn’t have kids alone with just one adult, or shouldn’t, under whatever circumstances…it was years ago, but it was addressed at the time. Anyone have recent training or can quote current policy?

    • Shannon

      I don’t know, but the health of that organization versus BSA is evident right from the get-go, when they don’t do backflips to ban lesbians like BSA does to ban gays.

  • Shannon

    What I find most interesting about this whole thing is how assiduously the Boy Scouts has worked to keep gay men and youth out of its organization. If they worked that hard to keep sexual predators of children out, they might not have this problem today.

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