Local Boy Scout Council reacts to national child abuse reports

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Local Boy Scout executives say they are deeply saddened by recent reports of thousands of past child abuse cases occurring across the nation by troop leaders between 1965 to 1985.

According to files released by the Boy Scouts of America, approximately 20,000 victims of child abuse were revealed by attorneys accusing 1,000 male troop leaders of child abuse across the United States.

Scout Executive of the Old Hickory Council Steve Wilburn says earlier this year, council leaders were notified by the Boy Scouts of America that there may be a release of these reports dubbed the “perversion files.”. 

Wilburn says although any abuse case is one two many, it’s important to know that the standards and protocols in place to prevent child abuse have changed.

“The cases that are being released and are going to be in the media in the next few days all took place between 1965 and the very early 90’s. There’s a whole cultural shift in how child abuse is reported and treated these days,” said Wilburn.

In 1981 the Boy Scouts of America established a “two deep rule” stating that two or more adults must be with every child during camps or meetings to eliminate one on one contact with scouts.

In 1989, the organization produced the first of many videos entitled “A Time to Tell” to highlight signs of abuse. The videos are apart of the Youth Protection  program required of troop leaders and scouts of what to do in the case of abuse.

“One of the first requirements that a new scout must complete is to sit down with their parents and go through a discussion guide that’s in the front of each scout handbook on how do you recognize or how to keep yourself safe,” said Wilburn.

Former den leader Jeanette Hege has two sons in Boys Scouts and says in no way does the reported incidents take away from the values her children get from the organization.

“You can’t look and think this is how the whole organization is but hopefully this is just something that somebody somehow missed and it’s unfortunate that but happened,” said Hege.

The Los Angeles Times has created a database compiling allegations of Sexual abuse across the United States between 1947 to 2005.

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