This
week a civil jury in Oregon found the Boy Scouts of America and its local Scout
council liable
for $1.4 million
in damages for abuse by a scoutmaster in the 1980s.
Punitive damages could be more than $20 million.

“Until
this case, the Boy Scouts of America had managed to keep these cases largely
underwater nationally,” Patrick Boyle, the editor of Youth Today, a
newpaper about youth work, told The Oregonian. “All of a sudden, it’s
gotten blown out of the water and the public knows that the Scouts have had
this problem, too — just like the Catholic Church.”

One
feature of the case which seriously damaged the credibility of the BSA’s
defence was its “Confidential
Files”,
a large database which it had maintained on scout masters who had
abused scouts since 1910. An analysis of the files showed that scout council
failed to report abuse, persuaded parents and victims not to complain, and
allowed men to reoffend.

 

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet.