scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Procedures for reporting
Richard Sullivan (rjvlsullivan1@PRODIGY.NET
Wed Mar 22 2000 - 23:49:35 CST
On Thu, 23 Mar 2000 00:00:23 -0600,
Bob Taylor asked
>do the procedures for reporting child abuse vary from council to council?
As I understand it, generally, No.
While I cannot speak for BSA I can report from personal experience
that the system as taught in National-produced YPT does work. And if
it works as taught (local laws may also come into play), the Scout
Professional will contact the appropriate agency.
A long time ago, in a Council far, far away, I served as an ADC while
employed as a criminal investigator for an agency that will remain
nameless. My office, which had appropriate jurisdiction, had
initiated a criminal investigation of an individual accused of certain
child-related crimes. I, as a supervisor, ran the NCIC/NLETS checks
and searched for outstanding wants in several different states while
my investigator in the field developed a criminal investigation that
resulted in appropriate legal action.
Separately, I received a telephone call from my DE, located some
considerable distance away, who called me in my "official" rather than
my BSA volunteer position. The DE knew my agency had jurisdiction and
forwarded a "concern" raised by a volunteer Scouter about the subject
of the then pending investigation. Of course the volunteer and the DE
had no knowledge of our investigation or the original allegations.
Subject had submitted an Adult Application volunteering to serve as a
Den Leader with a Cub Pack. The Reporting volunteer had received YPT
and was hesitant because of the nature of the allegation and the
"flimsiness" of the information available to the volunteer Scouter.
However, the call to the DE was made in answer to the BSA Training
package which urged the volunteers not to become investigators, not to
attempt to "perfect the complaint," rather to immediately inform the
Professional Scouter who would notify appropriate authorities.
We, the "appropriate authorities" took appropriate action based upon
the original criminal complaint and the Subject never got past the
filling-out-the-application stage before facing the legal system.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions, I could not provide feedback to
the DE or to the volunteer Scouter, but once the subsequent legal
actions became a matter of public record in that community, the
Council was notified. The BSA's system was employed as intended, and
the system worked.
Bob also asked:
>If you report abuse/syuspected abuse to the council executive, do you also
>report to the state agency? (that varies from council to council also?)
Now, I am not a lawyer, I don't play one on the internet and I cannot
speak for my agency, the BSA, my Council or your state and local
jurisdictions. But I do know that where I now live and work and
volunteer, similar procedures are effective. Many jurisdictions have
shield laws or good-faith laws that protect the good-faith reporter of
child abuse or other crimes. As a separate matter, many jurisdictions
have laws that require professionals who deal with children (teachers,
health-care providers, child care workers, etc) to report all such
acts of which they have knowledge. Whether any apply to you as an
individual parent or as a volunteer Scouter, I cannot say.
Within the context of local Scouting, I would recommend following BSA
policy regarding reporting suspicions or allegations as promulgated by
the local Council. You can expect that the Council's lawyers have
researched the local requirements and that they insist upon
Yours In Scouting,
Richard J. Sullivan, District Commissioner
Chief Solano District, Mt Diablo Silverado Council
Fairfield CA A Whimsical, Whistling Bob-WHITE! NE-IV-74
Speaking only for myself