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A Long-Standing Pattern Of Abuse

Posted on October 18, 2012

English: Life Scout in the Boy Scouts of America

English: Life Scout in the Boy Scouts of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the country’s most revered youth organizations. Since its inception in 1910, the Boy Scouts have trained boys to be responsible citizens and pillars of their community. The Boy Scouts also offer men the opportunity to mentor boys. Unfortunately, some of these men have cruel intentions.

Thousands of files documenting years of sexual abuse have been released to the public. Many of these files show how men took advantage of young boys.

As the Boy Scouts have said, the files related to the thousands of men expelled from the organization on suspicion of molesting children suggest no single profile of a predator.

The men came from all walks of life — teachers and plumbers, doctors and bus drivers, politicians and policemen. They ranged in age from teens to senior citizens and came from troops in every state.

But a close look at nearly 1,900 confidential files opened between 1970 and 1991 revealed a pattern: Many suspected molesters engaged in what psychologists today call “grooming behavior,” a gradual seduction in which predators lavish children with attention, favors and gifts.

In hundreds of cases, Scout leaders allowed the boys to drive cars, drink alcohol or look at pornography. They gradually tested physical boundaries during skinny dipping, group showers, sleepovers and one-on-one activities.

The confidential files, kept by the Scouts for nearly 100 years, were intended to permanently bar suspected molesters from the organization.

The dossiers — which included biographical data, legal records, Scouting correspondence, boys’ accounts of alleged abuse and media reports — represent all surviving files kept by the Scouts as of January 2005. The Scouts have destroyed an unknown number of files over the years.

Hundreds of files from the 1960s to the 1980s are set to be released Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court, giving the public its first broad view of the documents.

The full case files showed that nearly all the cases arose from situations in which troop leaders were alone with boys — a practice the Boy Scouts has long discouraged and officially prohibited since 1987. At least a quarter of the cases involved contact with boys outside of official Scouting activities, at scoutmasters’ homes for instance, or on nonsanctioned camping trips.

The grooming process and rule-breaking often ensured the boys’ silence, allowing some men to serially abuse boys over a span of years before being caught.

If you suspect that your child was a victim of abuse, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

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