Re: "DAY ONE"
Settummanque, the blackeagle (WALTOML@WKUVX1.BITNET)
Mon, 9 Aug 1993 03:10:45 CDT
Yale Zussman (using an APO brothers' account) writes:
>Although I have been aware of scouts-l for over a year, I never felt
>a desire to participate until the discussions earlier this year about
>ABC's "Day One" program on abuse within the operations of BSA, Inc.
>(the term I use for the corporation that controls scouting for boys in
>the United States). I will leave a personal introduction for later in
>this posting so that each of you may consider the issues I raise on
>their own merits.
(deletion on how others can get a copy of the transcript of the
>Much of the unhappiness with the "Day One" program appears to be the
>result of two equations, which, when made explicit, are recognizably
>false. The first is the equation of BSA, Inc., a real-world
>organization, with Scouting, a Movement or an ideal, an identification
>that serves the interests of the "professionals," even though it is
>not correct. The second is the equation of the needs of BSA, Inc.,
>with the private/"professional" needs of the people who control it.
>In other contexts, this would be readily described as a conflict of
>interest. In this way, the personal desires/objectives of the
>"professional" class are transformed into the needs of Scouting, and
>then presented as such. The "Day One" program addressed an aspect of
>the real-world operations of BSA, Inc., thereby threatening the
>financial aspirations of the "professionals." That BSA, Inc., should
>react as it has is not surprising, but it is something that should
>concern anyone who still adheres to the Scouting ideal. As Pascal
>said, "The first moral obligation is to think clearly." Let's try to
(Yale and I have talked a while back about related subjects to this
one. ) Yale, let me first remind you that as you speak of the
"BSA,Inc", you are talking about 415 local "BSAs, Inc." around the
country. Although the "corporate identity" is that of the national
organization, the national organization SUPPORTS and IS IN THE
BUSINESS of SUPPORTING the local Councils, not the other way around.
Therefore, your first comment above makes little sense to me. As far
as the second comment is concerned, I can tell you that the BSA is NOT
interested in the preservation of "deadweight professionals". I've
been around many, many local Councils whereby former professionals
were told to "pack up, turn in your card and don't have any further
association with us again".
So, let's not turn this discussion into one centered pitting the
professional against the volunteer against the youth. As one that
have clearly had experiences in ALL three areas, I can defend either
side of this discussion...and will, as you will see...
>I have studied the transcript, and believe there are four issues
>here that the advocates of BSA, Inc.'s, position really need to
>The first, and most important, is that BSA, Inc.'s, policy of denial
>creates exactly the environment that the perpetrators of these acts
>require to do their thing. (This may be a point "Day One" was trying
>to make, although it wasn't said explicitly.)
The policy is NOT one of denial. I don't understand where you got
that idea from, but the BSA since the new Youth Protection Policy was
inplemented in 1988-89, has INSISTED on full and open communication
with local and state police departments and other agencies. I know in
Kentucky, that if a Scout Executive (or his designated represenative,
usually the Assistant Scout Executive or the Director of Field
Services, depending on size of Council) reports an instance, that not
only local agencies get involved, but also the STATE POLICE, the
military's CID (criminal investigative division, a Army agency that
works directy for and reports to the two or three star Post
Commander), and the State's Cabinet for Human Resources.
>The perps know that
>BSA, Inc., doesn't want to acknowledge that these things go on, so
>evidence of problems, and reports of incidents, are likely to be swept
>under the rug, making it easier for them to get away with it. If they
>knew that anything they did would be reported, and that the Scouting
>authorities would react swiftly and forcefully, the perps would go
>elsewhere in search of easier pickings. Thus, those who object to the
>airing of complaints of abuse or object to public discussion of the
>issue, are, probably unwittingly, contributing to making the problem
>WORSE. Here is a case in which you must choose between loyalty to the
>institution and the welfare of the kids.
Nobody that I know of has objected to public discussions of RESOLVED
cases....but as I am sure that you and everyone else is aware of, a
person is "innocent until proven guilty". That fact keeps a lot of
"pending cases" from being publically talked about!!! Talk about
lawsuits.....if you accused me of molestation, and I haven't even
been around a child in years, that would be cause for me to talk to my
lawyer and get a MULTI-MILLION dollar lawsuit started, complete with
restraining orders on the local Council and law enforcement
agencies...and how would THAT help the resolution??
Just because *you* don't hear about the cases that have been proven,
don't mean that they are not being pursued and resolved privately.
The BSA just wants to preserve the dignity of all concerned AND
protect the youth of the program at the same time.
>Second, the youth protection program (YPP) provides much less
>protection than BSA, Inc., wants you to believe.
Says WHO??? You?? I personally feel that the mere *restrictions*
that the YPP program places to ALL volunteers is enough to keep many
from even considering the BSA as a "pick up place". I also feel that
if the Chartered Organizational Representatives are doing their jobs
(something that the BSA *is* holding their feet to the fire to do),
that many more will be "found" and asked to leave the program.
NOTHING, my brother, is 100 percent. There WILL be some that will get
by...and there will be some that will do some longterm damage. But,
you have a better idea??
>It is an example of
>an attempt to solve by regulation a problem that requires integrity,
>good judgement of character, and a willingness to put the best
>interests of the kids in scouting ahead of other considerations,
>including finances. Not all scout execs have the strength of
>character to do that. For example, I have a notarized statement from
>an alleged victim in the Midwest which claims that a named scout exec
>knowingly failed to remove a big donor after that individual was
>identified as having sexually assaulted a scout.
Then *you* as a citizen and former Scout(er) should have forwarded a
copy to the Regional office that serves your friend (in this case, the
Central Region). That alone will "fire up the Scout Executive" and
force him or her to come out with the situation....and believe me,
when the Regional Director comes down on a Scout Executive, it means
that lots of heads roll......
It all comes down to whether or not each of us are willing not to look
the other way when things like this occur. It's great to have the
training, but its the application of the training that determines
whether you gained the knowledge or not. In this case, you haven't
gained the knowledge.
And just because "Mr. Deeppockets" is a personal friend of the Scout
Executive doesn't mean that the Scout Executive would risk losing a
nice pension and the association forever with his peers for such a
stupid choice....Yale, most if not all Council Scout Executives have
at least 15 years' worth of retirement before they are selected for
the top job....and all of them are too old to say "screw this crap"
and start over flipping burgers or selling encyclopedias....
>Even if the "professionals" took their own regulations seriously, and
>my dealings with many of them convince me that they do not, as long
>as there is a reluctance at the National level to acknowledge the
>actual state of affairs, there will be no incentive for local councils
>to acknowledge their own actual situations or to take the YPP
>seriously, and no way for outsiders to judge its effectiveness in any
>given council. The result will be that the program will seem to work
>in some councils, while being totally ineffective in others. Its real
>impact will remain unknown.
I think that if you get a copy of the Nashville _Banner_ or the other
daily in this town, you will see the YPP in FULL OPERATION. Let's
see....the Louisville _Courier-Journal_, the Detroit _Free-Press_, and
even the Boston _Globe_ all ran stories over the past seven months
about former BSA volunteers that GOT CAUGHT and are now doing time for
sexual misconduct (don't believe me...go to your library and ask for
copies of the papers starting from Feburary of this year forward!).
Therefore, I feel that the BSA is doing a good thing with the current
implementation of the YPP.
>Third, BSA, Inc.'s approach to public relations is a disaster in the
>making. People in the PR profession have known for quite a while
>that the best thing to do when a problem like this is uncovered in an
>organization is for that organization to make public EVERYTHING it can
>as quickly as possible. (See "Public Relations: The Profession And
>The Practice" by Craig E. Aronoff and Otis W. Bashin, 1983, Chapter
>15.) Allowing the bad news to dribble out creates the impression that
>the organization is hiding something, and undermines the credibility
>of later claims that the problem has been solved. The public doesn't
>expect perfection from any organization. What it does expect, and I
>think it has the right to expect, is that organizations will react
>honestly, acknowledge the truth, and try to fix problems to the best
>of their ability. That has not been BSA, Inc.'s, response.
Yes, I can agree with you here...but remember again, we are NOT
talking about the corporate body, but rather localized
instances...which MUST be answered and resolved LOCALLY!!!!
Therefore, yes, you are going to get some delays in getting all of the
information out...and there's some that you or me or anyone else not
directed involved HAS NO BUSINESS KNOWING. That has been the BSA's
>Blake Lewis's performance also left much to be desired. Without
>benefit of having seen the video (which tends to enhance the
>impressions conveyed by the text), my impression is that he evaded,
>prevaricated, and dissembled in a manner that could not have been
>better designed to raise doubts about the integrity of BSA, Inc. He
>contradicted himself, claiming at one point that legal issues was not
>his "area of expertise," and then shortly thereafter claiming that one
>reason that BSA, Inc., cannot check volunteer backgrounds is that it
>was illegal in some states to investigate. Finally, his suggestion
>that there are "600, 700, 800 local councils" is simply wrong; as most
>readers of this list are aware, the real number is around 400. If he
>is ignorant of such basic facts about the organization of BSA, Inc.,
>why should one believe he knows the actual state of affairs with
>regard to the abuse problem?
First, Yale, Blake Lewis is a HIRED spokesman for the BSA. He is NOT
a professional...never has been a professional. He works for the
public relations firm retained by the BSA to handle external public
relations. Therefore, I am SURE (and I've HAVEN'T seen the tape!)
that he evaded any and all legal questions with some skill.
Second, in only twelve states is it legal for a organization to check
the police records of anyone without a signed authorization. The
application is NOT a "signed authorization". In being hired for my
job at Lifeskills, I had to sign a separate authorization and provide
a finger and thumb print BEFORE I was hired. Yeah, like the BSA is
going to fingerprint over a million and a half volunteers!
And then, while I know a hell of a lot about Scouting, there are many
(including that guy) that don't. I don't beat my girlfriend over the
head every time she don't know that you have to earn Wolf after
Bobcat...or that a CSP and a flap is NOT the same things. But she
does understand the reasons why Scouting exists, which to me (and most
people) is MORE important than what a badge looks like (or that we
have 415 local Councils instead of 6, 7 or 8 hundred)!!
>Fourth, these incidents are probably MUCH more common than BSA, Inc.,
>lets on. Using a crude model, I have made a rough estimate of the
>probable real frequency of these incidents based on the fraction of my
>scout contacts (in several councils) who claim to have been victims of
>some form of abuse. While the error interval is rather large, I can
>rule out the hundred case per year average acknowledged by Blake
>Lewis: my estimate is that there are(were) somewhere between three and
>sixty THOUSAND such incidents a year, not allowing for kids who have
>been targeted more than once. This is very much worse than the
>problem now convulsing the Catholic Church.
And I can come up with a model that can refute this as well....look,
instead of coming up with models, give us your ideas of ways that we
can resolve this problem.
If this is a larger problem as you speak, then how come youth that
have seen the video or participated in the program haven't contacted
their parents?? How come parents that have seen the tape haven't
contacted the local Council and reported their favorite Scouter??
And how come local Councils are not "giving the permanent boot" to
over 60,000 volunteers (assumming your model is correct)? In *my*
personal estimate, I say the figure is about 500 per year, mostly
during unit encampments or other "non-aware (events that go on in the
unit that the local Council, by way of the local tour permot) is NOT
aware of) events".
>Why such a small fraction of cases become public is a very important
>matter. My guess is that most scout-age boys believe that sexual
>abuse and rape are crimes that can only happen to girls, and thus
>refuse to admit, even to themselves, what has happened to them.
>Admitting that one has been physically abused violates one's macho
>self-image. Some of these victims will come forward when they reach
>their late thirties or forties. If that were the only reason, the YPP
>might be part of the answer.
>However, my research into this issue suggests something else. All of
>the alleged victims who have reported to me being sexually or
>physically assaulted by professionals, big donors, and other
>well-connected scouters have spontaneously brought up that they had
>been warned against mentioning the incident to anyone. In most cases,
>they claimed they were told that the perp could make it impossible for
>the victim to prove his claims. Since I have myself been threatened
>with death by a well-connected scouter, for daring to concern myself
>with these problems, I find their claims completely credible.
Okay...I can go with that....but also tell me this: did you attempt to
contact the local Child Welfare office or your state's department of
human/personal resources?? ANYONE can make a report here in this
state (and I am POSITIVE that this is the case anywhere else!) WITHOUT
even letting anyone else in on it...
>The problem here may lie in the "Scout Executive's Code" that Mike
>Walton has mentioned on a number of occasions. In order to
>investigate this possibility, I have attempted to get a copy from him,
>without success to date. Perhaps he will see fit to post the text of
>this document so that others can familiarize themselves with it and
>consider its implications.
I will be happy to provide a copy of the Scout Executive's Code in the
morning. But if you are implying that this code (a modification of
the Scout Oath professionals take upon entering the profession!)
"hides" or "shields" professionals from criminal action because
"others won't tell on him", you've been watching too many of those
>Now for an introduction:
(introduction and explaination deleted only in the interest of space).
>What I see is a program to protect professionals, not one intended to
>protect kids. The new registration procedure transfers responsibility
>to sponsors, many of whom are at best vaguely aware of what their
>scout unit(s) is(are) doing, rather than accepting that responsibility
>as inherent to the management of the program.
But Yale, that's what the entire transfer is designed to do...make the
chartered partner MORE AWARE of whom is registered to what position,
when they showed up, how long have they been their and most
importantly, if they have a history here or someplace else that would
bring up a red flag and beg for more indepth investigation.
I think this is a great idea...to place the responsibility where it
always belonged and should belong...with the people that OWN the unit
and not the "deep pocket" of the local Council. Remember that the it
is the local unit that operates the program and the BSA through the
local Council that provides the program support and administration.
>The scout exec who
>created my situation was rewarded for his bad judgement with a
>promotion to a larger council, where he currently serves some of you,
>while I continue to be punished for being right. How effective will
>the YPP be in the hands of an exec like this?
Very...if *you* get off your hindend, stop feeling sorry for yourself
and REPORT this man to the regional office and to the state agencies!
>Whole councils can fall into the wrong hands, National regulations or
>not. And given BSA, Inc.'s, determination not to allow any outside
>influence, what do we do if NATIONAL falls into the wrong hands? Must
>the options be to let them run the BSA as they see fit or to try to
The BSA is volunteers like me and others that got elected or appointed
there to serve....I have my own opinions and my own feelings and
statements about the things I care about! There's not many people
that will "go with the flow" just for the sake of keeping *one* man's
As Kathie wrote several months back, "WE ARE "NATIONAL" ".
>The indicted professional had an excellent reputation with his fellow
>"professionals" and all the right credentials, so if it hadn't been
>for me, he would undoubtedly be a scout exec by now. Perhaps he has
>become one anyway. Would you want a possible sex-offender as your
>scout exec, as long as he hadn't been convicted? How do you know your
>present scout exec isn't hiding a similar past? BSA, Inc., certainly
>won't tell you, yet if we are truly concerned about the welfare of the
>kids who come into contact with scout leaders, this is something we
>must know. That is why programs like "Day One" are necessary.
I agree, Yale, that programs like "Day One" are necessary to promote
thought, discussion and yes, investigation. ut do you know how a
Council Scout Executive gets hired?? You know how a District Scout
Executive gets hired?? Pretty much how volunteers are NOW being
"hired" by Chartered Organizational Representatives (which is where
the BSA got the YPP program from, in a great part!).
I am confident in stating that ALL of the Council Scout Executives
don't have a checkered past when it comes to sexual abuse matters.
I am also in the middle of getting ready for bed, so I will continue
this discussion with you and others in the morning after I've got some
However, I didn't have to think about this before I answered....your
comments are very inflammatory and reflects someone that don't quite
understand what goes on in the "typical local Council". It's not your
fault, most volunteers don't understand and I'm glad to share the
"inner secrets" with you.. But when you state things that you're not
quite sure about to satisfy personal curiousity, *that* is what brings
up a red flag with me!
And ANYONE that don't have enough to accept personal replies....I
don't care what the excuse is...if you can get a brother's account to
post the message, surely that person (Chapter in this case) can
"allow" you to respond to private messages on the same topic!!
How do you know what responses you will get if the account you posted
from cannot receive mail???
Personally, I feel that you feel yourself above all of us to get
personal replies. I don't.
My addresses are as always, here below for you or anyone to
reply back privately to.
Mike L. Walton
former Paraprofessional, tired volunteer Scouter just back from the
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
( (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( AIS/MR Recreation/Leisure Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_ )
( Phone 502-782-7992 (home) 502-842-2274 (office) |-=-|] )
( 3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -------- )
( WALTOML@WKUVX1 / "No such thing as strong coffee, only weak people" )
( KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM (America Online) / (available Scouting speaker) )
( "I don't speak for Lifeskills, Inc. or WKU...but man, do I speak!!!!" )
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City