According to confidential Boy Scouts of America files, hundreds of cases of alleged sex abuse by Scout leaders went unreported to police between 1970 and 1991. What makes the matter even worse is the position that the organization is taking now.
Boy Scouts Chief Executive Wayne Brock wrote in an open letter to parents that all scouting activities now require at least two adults present, and that all scout leaders and volunteers must submit to a criminal background check and take a mandatory training course on protecting youths from abuse.
That's all fine and great, but what about the victims? What about all those innocent children who were abused during that 21 year period? Where is the justice for them? Not only was the abuse quietly swept under the table and never reported, but the Scouts have shown no remorse, no regret and don't seem sorry for what happened.
Just like the Catholic Church that failed to report thousands of allegations of sex abuse against children and transferred church leaders accused of such crimes to new locations, the Boy Scouts promised these individuals who were caught up in an abuse scandal that the information would not be leaked to the public to protect their standing in the community.
It's despicable behavior from an organization that claims to be "one of the nation's most prominent values-based organizations." What values does this teach our kids, or anyone else for that matter? True leadership means standing up and taking responsibility when you make a mistake. Make no mistake about it, sexual abuse is a serious crime, and anyone caught committing such a heinous act should be locked away for good. Not only that, but a public display should be made of these pedophiles so they feel the same shame, embarrassment and hurt they inflicted on these innocent boys.
How many more children will be raped and abused before we begin punishing these criminals like the child molesters they are? With hundreds of alleged cases coming to light from the Boy Scouts, coupled with the depth and breadth of abuse in the Catholic Church around the world, it is truly unbelievable. Until we stand up and start putting these criminals away for good, it's never going to stop. Until that happens, the message being sent is literally condoning this kind of behavior.
Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty in June of one count of child endangerment, and is serving a sentence of three to six years at a minimum-security facility. He is the first member of the Catholic Church to be found guilty and to be punished for failing to report abuse.
The revelations that have come to the public's attention over the past 10 years have effectively wiped out the good deeds of the Catholic Church and demolished its credibility. The sad fact is, the Catholic Church has been guilty of sexual impropriety among its clergy for 2,000 years, and all the leadership, right up to the Papacy, has known about it.
The Associated Press estimates the cost of the sexual abuse scandal to the church has been well over 3 billion dollars, and those are just the costs we know about. How many billions of dollars have been secretly paid out to victims and covered up by the church? No one knows for sure, but we do know the church leaders were far more interested in protecting their child molesting priests than they were in the children who trusted them.
After this hurricane of abuse was discovered, and church leaders were confronted with new victims every day, you'd think they would hang their heads in shame. After all, wouldn't this be befitting to the earthly representatives of Christ? You'd think so, but Catholic leaders aren't used to having their authority questioned.
The worst example of this is when Pope Benedict XVI, the current Pope, formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger, was discovered to have covered up sexual abuses by a priest in Germany, and his defense was: "I will not be intimidated," and he advised a billion Catholics around the world to "Ignore petty gossip." Some people called for his arrest, but the power of the church is unparalleled in both politics and money, and Pope Benedict escaped unscathed by the scandal. The man the church calls the "Vicar of Christ on Earth" is forever linked to the sexual abuse of little boys.
It's like a horror movie where evil wins. It's sad, pathetic and criminal. But how dare we question or criticize the Catholic Church, the direct representatives of God. After all, they've been getting away with this for 2,000 years. Who are we to stop them now?
Going back to the Boy Scouts, the irony in all of this is not too long ago, the organization made headlines for refusing to change its policy on allowing gays into the organization. This was after more than 275,000 people signed an online petition calling for the organization to reverse the ban. The Boy Scouts feared gays could teach the wrong kind of values to our children and there could be potential for abuse, all the time while this was taking place anyway -- and Scout executives knew all about it.
Critical thinking says it's time we start cracking down on child molesters, whether you are the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church or affiliated with any other organization. Until we get tough and prosecute to the full extent of the law, more and more horrifying stories are going to come to light, and more innocent young children will continue to needlessly suffer.