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Black mark on Boy Scouts

Published: Wed, November 21, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

The Post-Crescent, Appleton, Wisc.: The more we think about the Boy Scouts’ “perversion files,” the angrier we get.

How could so many Boy Scout officials shield so many predators? How come no one stepped forward to say that molesters should be reported to police, not asked to leave town?

How come it took until 2010 to adopt a policy that accusations of molestation must be reported to the authorities?

We’re sickened by the whole thing. It boils down to this: The people entrusted with keeping young scouts safe from predators were more interested in protecting the organization than the kids.

Records from the 1960s through 1984, which were made public by an Oregon court, show that the names of more than 1,200 scoutmasters and volunteers who were accused of molesting children were kept secret.

Since some of the accusations go back decades, it could be easy for people to dismiss the practice by saying that the times were different in the 1960s and ’70s. But they weren’t.

In addition to the practice of gently letting molesters off the hook, the Boy Scouts should be ashamed that they fought the records’ release.

Scouting does a lot of good for communities and for boys alike. But its leaders must remind themselves that they, too, must live up to the Boy Scout oath: “On my honor, I will do my best.”

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