“Our goal continues to be to make scouting a rich and rewarding experience for young people throughout the country,” he said.
Lawrence City Attorney Charles Boddy, a longtime adult leader in the Yankee Clipper Council, said there’s ample evidence the confidential files kept on scout leaders who were banned served their purpose.
He cited the Haverhill case as an example of the system working.
“The reason the files were kept in the first place were to prevent recidivists from abusing scouts in one location and relocating across the country and rejoining scouting and hurting children again,” Boddy said.
“That (Haverhill case) shows that in at least that instance, the safeguards were successful. They did what they were supposed to do. This individual was flagged and was prohibited from further participation in scouting,” he said.
“The Boy Scouts of America have been fighting pedophilia for years and have been getting better at it. Today, it’s a different world, and the reason is different: we have gotten better over time of isolating these folks and preventing them from continuing their abuse. The standards of today far exceed the standards of 30 or 40 years ago,” he said.
For one thing, all adults who seek employment or volunteer jobs in scouting are subject to extensive criminal background checks. They must also complete a lengthy application that requires references, social security numbers and other personal information.
There are national databases in place that enable Boy Scout councils to track the movement of leaders with questionable backgrounds. Volunteers receive youth protection training programs that are offered online. they learn what constitutes appropriate interaction between adults and youth.
“If you are not registered, you are not even allowed to come into conduct with the youth,” Boddy said.
“And no adult leader can be alone with a youth member unless there is another adult member present,” he said.