Re: Youth Protection - Involve Police?
Brian Davis (brian@SETON.COR.NET)
Sat, 25 Mar 1995 06:04:55 +0000
On Sat, 25 Mar 1995, Scott D. Drown wrote:
> Even if there is no legal requirement there may be in some states an
> obstruction of justice requirement that could occur since if you have
> knowedge of it and that gets out the abuser will most certainly take action
> to try to destroy any evidence, move, etc etc.
The same policy that requires reporting the suspician of a volunteer
(notice the word suspician), also requires that the reporter tell no one
else. You point out one of the reasons above - to avoid tipping off
molesters. Other reasons include - protecting the privacy of the child
(ever seen how children tease one another? Imagine the teasing evolving
from this sort of incident.), privacy of the adult (after all, your
suspicians may be ungrounded), and your own privacy (if you falsely
accused *me* of child molestation, I'd be pretty peeved at you.).
SE's receive special training in the handling of YPP cases, and council
attorneys are required to keep current on state law in these matters.
> I think my biggest concern is that the requirement to report only to the DE
> is an attempt by BSA to be able to defend themselves first and this may not
> be what is best for the scout involved.
The policy states, report to the Scout Executive *NOT* the district
executive. It seems, that despite several years of training, we still
can't get people to quit running to the DE's with these problems. SE not
DE. SE not DE. SE not DE. SE not DE. SE not DE.
Certainly protecting the organization is one of the reasons for this
policy, and a darn good one too (A scout is loyal). Other reasons include:
1. Counseling the incident reporter - usually, the people making these
reports are frightened. In fact, in the past, the vast majority of abuse
cases were "hushed up" by frightened volunteers who "didn't want a
scandal", or some other such reason. SE's must often reassure reporters
that they are doing the right thing.
2. Bungling by local police - Sorry guy. But the brutal fact is, that
most reports to police departments are given first to patrolmen - who
have *no* specialized training in these matters. Consequently, we have a
patrolman show up in a marked cruiser, thus alerting the entire
neighborhood to the report, and, as you well know, the patrolman cannot
enter the domicile of the accused without permission of the owner (and
are they going to give it? Probably not if they have lots of evidence
laying around), or a warrant. Judges seldom issue warrants based on
"suspicians", or even reports of abuse by children. They want some more
substantial investigation. Way out of your average patrolman's league.
So, the unwitting report to the local PD often results in undesireable
There are exceptions to this - if you catch an abuser "en
flagrante delecto" then call the police immediately - your eyewitness
report is enough to make an arrest on. This doesn't happen vary often
though. Most of the time, reports surface from either reports by the
victimized child to parents, or by "gut feeling" charges by adults who
have seen something that makes them suspicious. In fact, eyewitness's
are an almost unheard of rarity in these cases, beyond the abuser and his
3. Follow up to the initial report - SE's are required, as part of their
mandate, to establish working relationships with local authorities
charged with investigative powers over incidents of child abuse.
Remember, its one thing for a DHS investigator to put a single individual
report on the back burner. Its quite another for him to ignore the head
of a large, well connected local organization. You bet we get good
service on these complaints. The SE has enough polictical swat to be
sure the problem will be given appropriate attention.
4. The Attorney generals of most states have ruled, that while working
as a volunteer in an organization which has established a reporting
policy which requires the individuals to report to the organization head,
or his delegate, who is in turn required by the organization to follow up
with local authorities, that you reporting obligation is satisfied by
reporting to the appropriate handler. Simply put, while working as a
Scout Leader, *your* authority *can be* the local SE. I should also
point out the obvious here - this is one of the rules you accept when
joining the organization. You can choose to reject the rule, but not
while still a member of the organization.
> Pedophiles are a real problem - and can take months and even years to
> "groom" their victims, often with their parents unwitting consent. The
> parents think he is a great guy and an excellent role model I think we
> have to err on the side of the scouts. Call the police - and the DE.
All together now, one more time - SE not DE. SE not DE. SE not DE. SE
not DE. SE not DE. You remind me of point number 5 here, I almost forgot!
5. Reporting to the police rather than the Scout office means that we
have no report on file on the person you are accusing. And that, means
he can come back and be a scout leader somewhere else. Do I need to
remind you that the conviction rate in these cases is very low? Or that
molesters frequently get very short jail sentences (to me, anything short
of life seems short, of course)? That means he'll be back. If you failed
to report the incident to the SE, it also means that he can probably join
scouts again (at least until we get this background check thing figured out).
> False accusations will occur - but only if a leader fails to follow the 2
> deep leadership requirements. 2 deep leadership not only protects the
> scouts, but the leaders as well.
| Brian L. Davis Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org |
| Richardson, Tx Compuserve: 72600,2721 |
| Youth Protection Chairman |
| Used to be an Eagle. |
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City