Lafayette

Oct 19, 2012 7:40 PM by Maddie Garrett

Acadiana Scout Leaders Respond to Boy Scout Perversion Files; 70 Cases in LA

Another cover-up of child molestation, this time involving Boy Scouts of America. It all came to light with the release of confidential files called the "Boy Scout Perversion Files," which detail accounts and reports of abuse that were more times than not, covered up. Time and time again, the files show that Scout leaders, police and local officials all participated in keeping quiet accounts of child molestation.

Louisiana has fewer cases than many other states, totaling 70 reports from 1967 to 2000. Five of the incidents took place in Acadiana; three were in Lafayette, one in Church Point and another in Jennings.

But Acadiana Scout leaders said these files do not represent the Boy Scouts today or its current policies.

"Once a Scout always a Scout. And we're here for them whether they're currently a member of our program or not," said Evangeline Area Council President Gary McGoffin.

McGoffin said he wants justice for harmed Scouts, even if the abuse took place many years ago.

"Mistakes have been made in the past, for that everyone is sorrowful, but we're doing everything we can now to protect our youth and our program and make sure that doesn't happen," said McGoffin.

Procedures for the Boy Scouts of America are very different today than they were several decades ago. One example is the "two-deep" rule, which means taht two adults must be present with any youth at all time.

"Scouting has taken some great steps in youth protection to make sure that these things don't happen or if something would come up our scouts are protected appropriately," explained McGoffin.

In recent years, Boy Scouts of America put in place a much stronger policy regarding reporting molestation or suspected abuse. Adults are obligated to report any wrong-doing, or suspected abuse, to police. Scouts and leaders also go through training to know what's appropriate and what to look for.

"Rather than sweeping this under the rug, dealing with it directly is the healthiest way to deal with it and it's the best opportunity we have to prevent it from happening again," said McGoffin.

But no plan is full proof, McGoffin acknowledges abuse still happens, it's how they take action that's important.

"On the few occasions when something like this has come up, it's been dealt with very appropriately," he said of his Council.

The "Boy Scout Perversion Files" were kept at Boy Scout headquarters in Texas and consist of 14,500 pages of memos from local and national Scout executives, handwritten letters from victims andtheir parents and newspaper clippings about legal cases. As the time, authorities justified their actions as necessary to protect the good name and good works of Scouting. In reality, the secret files allowed sexual predators to go free.

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