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Comments about ‘4 men sue Boy Scouts, LDS church in Idaho’

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Published: Monday, June 24 2013 4:59 p.m. MDT

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Woody
Newbury Park, CA

I have the utmost sympathy for the victims of this abuse. No matter how late, they are entitled to justice. The Oregon firm representing them specializes in this type of law suit. They recently got a $19 million judgement against the BSA. One tactic they use is to sue for a few individuals to obtain the institutions records and finances. Then they can chase down additional clients. This suit is the first slash in a death by a thousand cuts.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Obviously we don't know the facts, yet.

For example:

Were there resources available for background checks of scout leaders?
Did the perpetrators have a prior history?
Did the Church avail themselves of background checks?

When/if were local Church leaders made aware of the abuse?
If they were made aware what did they do?

Sexual abuse of children is life-altering and can be devastating to the victims.

My sister and I were sexually molested--groped by sales person in a UT store in the presence of my mother (apparently she was unaware it was happening) when we were young (probably ages 6-8?) At the time it happened I didn't know it was wrong--all i knew was that I didn't like it and never wanted to go back to that store. As long as I lived in UT if we ever drove by that store I got a sick and panicked feeling. It was only when I was in my mid-late twenties, living in another state, that I recognized what had happened as abuse--and also found out the same thing had happened to my sister.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Think about how devastating it is when a young person is molested by church or community leaders. Imagine sitting in church--looking at your molester every week while they are accepted and afforded respect by other leaders and adults. What does that do to one's soul? What does that do to one's sense of trust? What does that do to one's relationship and belief in God?

There is no doubt in my mind that too often--at least in the past--these incidents were treated by bishops or other leaders as personal "repentance" issues and not reported to law enforcement authorities.

Again, we don't know the facts.

J in AZ
San Tan Valley, AZ

In the time frame that these individuals are reporting that they were abused, the BSA did not have a systematic program of background checks for adult leaders. That was implemented 13 or 14 years ago. The LDS Church really didn't have any kind of digital membership system until at the earliest the late 1980's. In that environment, it was vastly more difficult to track people who should never be allowed near youth. Also, society didn't look at the problem of abuse in the same way that we do not. That being said, the actual abusers in these cases should be brought to trial if at all possible. But, as long as the BSA and the Church can show that local officers acted according to the established policies and laws of the day, the suits against them should be thrown out.

snowman
Provo, UT

Money is at the root of these allegations. The Church does not sponser all BSA units.

snowman
Provo, UT

Cats: Just because a person is gay, it doesn't mean that they are child molestors

Bootsy
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

The plaintiffs CAN'T go after the perpetrators because the statute of limitations passed decades ago. That's why they're going for the deep pockets of the BSA and LDS church. I agree that the Elk's Club should also be named in the lawsuit since they were the sponsor of one of the four scout troops.

If this lawsuit were being brought to show that there is a weakness in the program that needs to be fixed, I would understand it, but in the decades since this happened, the scout organizations have implemented a lot of preventative measures to keep these things from happening. This says to me they're not trying to prove a point but to get money. No, it should have have happened; yes, it's a tragedy; no, they probably haven't gotten over it and maybe never will. But the only ones who will benefit in this situation are the lawyers, who will pocket 1/3 of whatever money is won. Greed rules.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

From the DN article:

"The Boy Scouts began keeping files on people who were deemed ineligible to volunteer for the organization — because they molested children, stole money from the organization or committed other transgressions — as early as 1920, according to the lawsuit. Thousands of those files have since been publicly released as former Scouts sued the organization over sexual abuse.

The men contend that the existence of those files shows the Boy Scouts of America knew Scouts faced a real risk of abuse. They say the BSA's failure to warn prospective and current Scouts, their parents and others shows a pattern of fraud and misrepresentation. Likewise, the men say the LDS Church knew that some of its Scoutmasters and troop leaders had molested boys in the past and that it nevertheless continued to put boys in harms' way."

Christopher B
Ogden, UT

@snowman,

"Cats: Just because a person is gay, it doesn't mean that they are child molestors"

No one said it does.

How many times do we have to go over this?

Similarly, being a heterosexual male does not make someone a child molestor.

And yet men shouldn't be taking the neighbor girls camping with them.

Contrarius
Lebanon, TN

@Chris --

"men shouldn't be taking the neighbor girls camping with them."

NO adults should take ANY children camping alone -- regardless of gender or orientation.

@J-TX --

"since the general populace is 2% gay, their share of same-sex abuse is twice what it should be per capita."

Actually, the percentage of gay people in the US population is roughly 3-5% -- depending on locale and what technique you use to make the estimation. In some areas, in fact, the percentage rises over 10%. (check the wikipedia page "LGBT demographics of the United States" for more details).

"don't try to paint it as boys being safer with homosexual leaders. It is plainly untrue."

Fortunately, I never did any such thing.

What I actually said was that abusers are more likely to APPEAR to be "normal heterosexuals" -- regardless of what their actual orientation may be.

One constant amongst abusers is that they hide behind a camouflage of normalcy.

Therefore, the men who are honest and open about being gay aren't the ones the BSA needs to worry about. The abusers are going to people people who LOOK like "normal, heterosexual" members of the community.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

If it is determined that it happened I hope they are awarded a lot of money.

mare54
KIHEI, HI

Sadly....there is good and bad everywhere...including the Mormon church. Do you really think that these are isolated incidents? How many people do you estimate have had similar incidents happen to them and they are not coming forward like this? The only thing that raises my eyebrows about this is that these men are coming forward so late and asking for monetary damages. It's just as bad to have a bishop making young girls sit on his lap in his office and have them kiss him on the cheek, even though nothing specific happened. There should be a policy that no minor child go into a church office by themselves....ever....but we are also conditioned to trust church leaders to be appropriate. Sadly humans are well, human, and they don't always make the best decisions, even church leaders.

Duh
west jordan, ut

If true, this was a horrible act committed by men, not organizations no matter who they are. Knowingly putting a child in harms way is another issue. In my mind, this is nothing but a money grab ploy as others have suggested. These individuals should be going after the perps who committed the crime if still alive and put them in jail. Why wait until now and why hide your names? Though I am not a big supporter of the BSA, I am against law suits on issues that are so old, it is impossible to prove unless the perps (if alive) confess to the crimes then, it is still the perps fault, not the organization. Just another example of how society today will sue for whatever reason a lawyer can give them in order to obtain a paycheck.

oldschooler
USA, TX

If scouting is such a great program for boys, why not having a girl scouts program as well? With the Changes in BSA I can see this coming more and more, one very good reason why LDS churh should not be affiliated to BSA. Why do not create a church scouting program of our own? That way we set the rules and do not have to answer to any other organization. We are missing this one.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

This is just one of MANY reasons why I personally attended each and every camp trip my son went on while a scout. I don't trust anyone with my 12 year old except myself and neither should any other parent. If I am a single mom then I make certain I am comfortable with all the leaders taking care of my son. This sort of thing should never happen but people are people and evil doesn't confine itself to any religious group.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

The length of time since the reported violation took place makes one wonder, if this was a traumatic or illegal event, why wait so long if the plaintiffs have been suffering? The option for legal redress has been well known for decades. Something is missing from this story.

WHAT NOW?
Saint George, UT

Questions...

After 41 years, how is this lawsuit going to fix anything?

How can these claims be verified?

If the claims can't be verified, can those accused receive monetary damages from the accusers?

I appreciate those who made comments letting the rest of us know how the money angle works for the law firms as well as the accusers.

I invite anyone to answer my three questions.

Thanks.

1978
Salt Lake City, UT

@J-TX

I would also add that if you look at amazondoc's own statistics quoted from the child advocacy center, 25% of all abuse occurs by people not engaged in a heterosexual lifestyle. Not to mention that some of those in a heterosexual relationship could be bisexual.

Other studies such as that quoted in "Archives of Sexual Behavior" by W.D. Erickson of 229 convicted child molestors stated that 86% of the respondants considered themselves as either homosexual or bisexual.

Somehow that 4% number just didn't pass the common sense test with me.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

October 2012 the BSA released 20,000 pages of documents relating to alleged instances of sexual abuse by more than 1,200 perpetrators within the organization.

The documents were ordered to be produced by an Oregon judge in separate litigation, tried in 2010, resulting in an $18.5 million punitive damages award against the BSA.

Most children are abused by someone they know and trust.
An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, childcare providers, neighbors.
About 30% of perpetrators are family members, e.g., fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins.
Just 10% of perpetrators are strangers to the child.
In most cases, the perpetrator is male regardless of whether the victim is a boy or girl.
Some CDC research has estimated that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
However, accurate statistics on the prevalence of sexual abuse of children and adolescents are difficult to collect because it is vastly underreported and there are differing definitions of what constitutes sexual abuse.
Boys (and later, men) tend not to report their victimization, which may affect statistics.

Eliyahu
Pleasant Grove, UT

There are good reasons that we have a statute of limitations on both civil and criminal actions. If you were accused of doing something thirty or forty years ago, how could you possibly defend yourself? And for the accusers, how do they expect to prove their case? No witnesses, no physical evidence, just someone saying something happened. Try to account for your whereabouts on, let's say, the month of August, 1981. Or account for every moment of every day during all the scout activities in the summer of 1978. No one can do it, and it's unreasonable to expect them to do so.

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