Scouts Canada Betrayed Sexual Abuse Victims
The Catholic church was not the only trusted organization covering up child sexual abuse. So was Scouts Canada. Annie Urban covered the shocking revelations that prompted the report just released by Scouts Canada.
Last October the “Los Angeles Times” posted a photograph of a man with a two-decade history of sexual abuse on both sides of the border and reported:
Rick Turley was 18 when he learned that Scouting offered a unique opportunity to meet boys.
He would show up in a uniform with a sash full of merit badges, charm parents with claims of being a “top” leader and offer to take their preteen boys out for a swim or drive. Then, often after plying them with alcohol, he would fondle or rape them — once going so far as to kidnap a boy in a stolen plane.
Over nearly two decades, Turley molested at least 15 children in Southern California and British Columbia, most of whom he met through American and Canadian Scouting, a Los Angeles Times and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. investigation has found.
After that revelation, Scouts Canada Chief Commissioner Steve Kent posted an apology on YouTube. He claimed the organization had put in place rigorous policies to provide a safe environment and that all abuse allegations were reported to the police.
CBC’s “the fifth estate” went on to produce a documentary called “The Lost Boys” that took a critical look at how Scouts Canada had handled the victimization of young boys. It revealed a disturbing pattern of coverup by Scouts Canada and the tragic aftermath for victims.
Next: Scouts Canada Investigates and Responds
Scouts Canada hired KPGM’s forensics group to examine records of scout leaders who were terminated or suspended because of allegations of sexual abuse. The report was released June 25th. Scouts Canada has posted it online.
The report reveals serious gaps in Scouts Canada’s policy and its implementation. Although procedures for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse have improved in recent years, KPMG notes “Scouts did not always meet the high standards it set for itself.”
That is an understatement. According to “The Lost Boys”, Scouts Canada maintained confidential lists on thousands of suspected pedophiles it had kicked out. That means thousands of boys were abused by men who earned their trust and then sexually preyed on them, within an organization parents trust.
Scouts Canada’s response to the KPMG report was swift and intended to reassure. Steve Kent said:
We want parents and the Canadian public to know the full extent of our commitment to providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment for children and youth. And we are committed to continuously enhance our organization’s safety policies and procedures.
Trust in the organization will take time to restore. Millions of Scouts have had, and continue to have, positive experiences in the youth organization, but apologies and reassurances cannot rebuild the shattered spirits of the victims.
Steve Kent’s apology video is below. Canadian readers can view “The Lost Boys” online.
Related Care2 Stories
Photo credits: Thinkstock