- Cullman, Alabama

October 19, 2012

Another dark secret exposed

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Another dark secret in a respected American institution is being brought to light, much to the horror of people across the nation.

The Boy Scouts, heralded as one of the 20th century’s great success stories in building character among young people, apparently kept thousands of pages of secret files detailing abuse of young Scouts and allegations of various acts of perversion by the scoutmasters.

In most cases, the allegations were covered up by the organization are swept under the rug by police and the judicial system in an effort to protect the good name of the Boy Scouts. The stories and allegations of abuse date at least to the mid-1960s and left victims to suffer with little hope of attaining justice. And equally troubling is that sexual predators were allowed to remain cloaked to continue their horrendous acts.

The Boy Scouts, like churches and schools, is an institution that has carried a great deal of trust and respect in American society. Growing revelations of misconduct by those in leadership positions among these institutions has caused alarm and calls for better checks and balances where involvement with children is concerned.

The case of Jerry Sandusky, the convicted child predator and former Penn State football coach, received national attention. However, communities across the country have been forced to face problems with teachers, ministers, and now scoutmasters.

Children and teenagers are all vulnerable to abuse. While the aforementioned institutions have performed great services in the lives of people across the land, the growing awareness about abuse, and the increased willingness of victims to step forward, is bringing to light glaring weaknesses where the protection of the innocent is concerned.

While efforts are made to screen scoutmasters, ministers and teachers before they are allowed to work with children, a better system of monitoring their actions is missing.