Executives with the Boy Scouts of America want parents to know their children are safe and they are taking measures after 11 troop leaders in New York were among nearly 200 accused of sexually abusing children in the recently released Boy Scout of America’s “perversion files.”
This week, lawyers for the organization released a list of suspects who allegedly abused children as part of a “widespread pattern of abuse.”
The names of some of the accused were released on Tuesday, and attorneys representing the victims have demanded that the Boy Scouts of America release the background information, identities and files on all perpetrators who have been accused of sexual misconduct involving minors.
The law firm alleges that there are more than 7,000 sexual abusers in the Boy Scouts organization nationwide, including 130 in New York.
- Edward Spear - Pack 63 in Goshen;
- James Arthur Fross - Troop 58 in Red Hook and Troop 16 in Tivoli;
- Tyrone Charles Hughes - Troop 123 in Suffern.
- Guillermo Gonzalez - Pack 1 in Baldwin, Pack 18 in Freemont;
- Ronald Hubert - Troop 101 in Brentwood;
- Matthew "Mattie" Malone - Troop 119 in Hempstead;
- Robert Izzo - Troop 100 in Hicksville;
- John Stella - Explorer Post 142 in Huntington;
- Gordon Pugh - Explorer Post 700 in Manhasset;
- John Stella - Troop 41 in Northport;
- Henry Van Baalen - Troop 413 in Northport;
- Leonard Maniscalo - Post unknown in West Babylon.
During a conference call hosted on Wednesday, Michael Surbaugh, the Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America, expressed support for the alleged victims and said that his organization has taken measures to protect children, which “continues to be our top priority.”
“We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children,” he said. “We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. “We believe victims, we support them, and we pay for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice and we encourage them to come forward.”
Surbaugh said that last year, there were five known victims of sexual abuse in the Scouting programs among the estimated 2.2. youth that participates in the Boy Scouts.
“We steadfastly believe that one incident of abuse is one too many, and we are continually improving all our policies to prevent abuse,” he added. “Experts note that among the general U.S. population, one in six men have experienced sexual abuse or assault at some point in their lives.
“This is an unacceptable public health problem that must be addressed and we seek to be part of the solution along with all other youth-serving organizations. Our volunteer screening database is a mechanism for keeping kids safe.”
Surbaugh went on to note that any report of suspected abuse are brought to local law enforcement agencies for investigation. He also said that the organization’s “Ineligible Volunteer Files,” now called their “Volunteer Screening Database,” has “prevented potential predators from re-joining our organization and gaining access to use, which is precisely why we have been maintaining these records since the 1920s.
Erin Eisner, the Chief Strategic Officer for the Boy Scouts of America, noted that the organization “is eager to share the information contained in their database with other youth-serving organizations.
“That is why we’ve advocated for and will continue to push for the creation of a national database to serve as a clearinghouse for all youth-serving organizations,” she said. “Our vision, and one shared by others working hard in this space to protect youth, is that all youth-serving organizations would be required to track and document those adults who have harmed children or have been suspected of harming children and report this information into a national registry.
“Similar to the National Sex Offender public website maintained by the Department of Justice, our goal is the creation of a registry for those who seek to work with children. This would reduce the risk that potential abusers could gain access to children by moving or going to another youth-serving organization after being removed.”
Eisner noted during the call that she is a mother of two Scouts, and would have no hesitation allowing her children to continue.
“First and foremost, I am a mother. And my heart breaks for any child that has experienced the tragedy and trauma of abuse,” she said. “If I felt for a second that Scouting was unsafe, I would not be associated with nor advocate for the Boy Scouts of America."
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