Scout Organizations Get Unwanted Notice
February 21, 2012 Patrick Sullivan
Both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts had an interesting Presidents Day weekend. A California judge has ordered the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to turn over confidential files on volunteers as part of a molestation case brought against the organization by a victim’s family.
Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) were the subject of a diatribe by Indiana lawmaker Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne), who claimed the Girl Scouts promote homosexuality and “have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood.”
The Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge has ordered the Texas-based BSA to turn over 20 years’ worth of files to the court by February 24 after reviewing some of the files in January. The victims’ names will be removed from the files and the files will not be made public.
The BSA’s files, known as “ineligible volunteer files,” date back to the 1920s. The purpose is to prevent suspected pedophiles from obtaining positions in the Scouts. The lawsuit stems from an incident in 2007. A 13-year-old boy was molested by a troop leader, Al Stein, who in 2009 pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment. The lawsuit brought by the boy’s family, scheduled to begin in April, contends that the BSA knew Stein had placed the child in danger and that the organization had tried to cover the incident up.
In the past, the BSA has been reluctant to turn over the ineligible volunteer files, citing concerns regarding victims’ privacy and that many of the allegations contained within the files are unsubstantiated. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, as well as to expose what it claims is the Boy Scouts’ “culture of hidden sexual abuse.”
The BSA did not return calls seeking comment.
In Indiana, state representatives were asked to sign a resolution honoring the centennial anniversary of the GSUSA. Morris refused to do so, instead sending a letter dated February 18 to fellow lawmakers denouncing the organization for its policies toward gay and transgendered scouts, as well as accusing the Girl Scouts of being in league with Planned Parenthood. Morris is the only representative not to sign the resolution, and said he plans to remove his two daughters from the Girl Scouts.
“(A)bundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood,” wrote Morris.
A statement released by the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana claims that “issues related to human sexuality and reproduction are best left to parents or guardians to discuss with their daughters,” and denies any link between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.
“Regarding Representative Morris, if the freshman representative wishes to discredit the contributions that hundreds of thousands of Indiana women and girls have made through the Girl Scouts program over the last 100 years, then he’s entitled to his opinion,” said Michelle Tompkins, manager of Media Relations for GSA. She also characterized Morris’s statement as “off the mark in his claims.”