scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: 20/20 program and YP
Thomas Bizzell (thomas@BIZZELL.ORG
Tue Nov 09 1999 - 16:45:23 CST
Peter Sanders wrote:
> Thursday night was Roundtable, and our YP refresher. Friday night I
> watched 20/20 with my wife. In discussing the report a couple of questions
> came up that we did not have answers for, Where were the other leaders?
> etc, but the biggest question was:
> 1- The report said that this person was removed from scouting when the
> first scout reported the molestation attempt. This is the one where the
> court found him not guilty. What was not said was whether the scoutmaster
> was returned to his position in the troop.
> This question cuts both ways - In this case, he was guilty, the result of
> the court case was incorrect.
> But what about a falsely accused scouter? In the YP tape, this question
> came up and the answer was along the lines of "You (the reporting scouter)
> are not responsible for reporting an allegation of abuse that turns out to
> be false." I disagree with this statement - The reporting person may not
> be legally responsible, but morally I would feel very responsible for
> forwarding a report that I had misgivings about that later turns out to be
> false -- especially if it resulted in the permanent banning of a leader.
> At roundtable this question was raised, and no one could answer the
> question about reinstatement.
> So, what happens in the "accused, but cleared by the courts" cases?
I also went through YPP on Saturday. I came away with there is no clear
answer. You have to protect the kids. The story on 20/20 made one
thing clear. These people(adults or even peers) hurt the kids on
serveral levels. Building up trust, violating that trust, and then
using the shame and embarasment to generate fear in the kids is just
evil. It is not just the "act" that would be painful. It is the whole
In Texas, as I understood it, it is your legal responsibilty to report
reasonably suspicious behaviour. If you did not and then later charges
were brought, you could become an accessory after the fact.
It is a scairy world both for the kids and the volunteers or potential
In Austin, a youth minister was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison
for such charges. It turned out that the church that hired him knew of
similar allegations in Denton, TX, and Florida but chose to ignore the
He followed the classic pattern. Another church in Austin had a
volunteer plead guilty to 8 counts(8 different boys) and got 60 years.
It followed the classic pattern.
The Boy Scouts are caught between a rock and a hard place.
As I see it, the YPP is designed to break the pattern or at least deny
the person the opportunity to use the BSA as a place to out carry his
plans. If you have multiple leaders on all events and following YPP is
followed in spirit and letter, then the person who does not follow
procedures will stick out in the crowd or draw suspicion to themselves.
It protects the adult volunteers and kids.
It seems to me, one other thing to watch out for is always having the
exact same adult leadership on each event. I think that is why it is
important to bring the parents into the picture. You could use them as
a resource to get new faces at each campout.
YPP lets the kids know one on one conduct is not the norm and that they
do not have to feel guilty about avoiding such uncomfortable
These are just a few impressions that I got from the training.
> Peter Sanders
Eagle Scout 1982
Tonkawa Lodge #99
Vigil 1986, Tatanka Lodge #141, Weuchsowagn, "One Who has Knowledge"