A shocking Los Angeles Times investigation has revealed a disgusting, decades-long coverup of child molestation in the Boy Scouts of America. Like the Catholic Church and Penn State, the BSA fostered monsters and sacrificed victims to protect its reputation. Here's what you should know.
1. The Scale is Staggering
The Times reviewed 1,600 documents — spanning 1970 to 1991 — from the Scouts' "perversion files" and determined that hundreds of accused molesters in the organization were not reported to cops or to parents. Offenders often were allowed to resign quietly — free to continue their deviant behavior elsewhere. In the 500 cases where Boy Scout officials learned of abuse that had not previously been reported to police, they failed to report 400 of them to authorities.
2. There Was an Active & Rampant Coverup
Beyond failure to report abuse, Boy Scouts officials engaged in an active coverup. In 100-plus of the aforementioned cases, the Times found, officials "actively sought to conceal the alleged abuse or allowed the suspects to hide it." Suspected abusers were allowed to state bogus reasons for resignation and leave on good terms. When a scoutmaster in Pennsylvania quit amid accusations of two rapes and other sick deeds, the BSA accepted his resignation "with extreme regret."
3. The BSA Told Outright Lies
When 50-year Scout member Arthur W. Humphries was busted for serial child molestation in Virginia in 1984, Scout spokesman Jack Terwilliger told the local paper they had no suspicions about him. Terwilliger lied through his teeth. In 1978, at Terwilliger's behest, BSA officials interviewed a 12-year-old boy who described oral-sex encounters with Humphries. Humphries molested five more boys before cops nabbed him in '84. He went to jail for molesting a total of 20 Boy Scouts as young as 8.
4. The BSA Gave Molesters Glowing Recommendations
Humphries, the aforementioned sicko, got a rave review from Terwilliger, the aforementioned lying sack, when he applied for a national post in 1981:
If selected, I am sure that he would add much to the handicapped awareness trail at the 1981 Jamboree.
5. A Pervert Priest is Involved
In 1991, assistant troop leader William Lazzareschi was caught receiving oral sex from a 12-year-old behind a tent at a Scout camp in Rhode Island. He was kicked out but not reported, and the boy got counseling from camp chaplain Father Edmond Micarelli, who recommended the boys' parents not be told. Years later Micarelli was accused of raping boys and was named in a suit by 36 victims against 10 priests. The local Diocese paid out $13.5 million.
6. Cops & Newspapers Aided in the Coverup
The reverence for the Scouts as some kind of holy American institution led even officials outside the organization to collude to preserve its reputation. When one sicko Scout leader in L.A. was caught with a stash of photos of him giving enemas to naked Boy Scouts, cops and child services met with Scout officials and concluded: "We recognize that this unfortunate situation was no reflection on the Boy Scouts of America whose integrity and reputation must be maintained." In another case, in 1987, a BSA volunteer named Dr. Thomas Kowalski admitted masturbating while fondling two boys. A local newspaper publisher agreed to keep it out of the papers. His reputation unsullied, Kowalski continued working with kids in his practice until he retired in 2001.
7. Molesters Were Given "Second Chances"
A 21-year-old scoutmaster named Mark Bumgarner, an Eagle Scout and son of a pastor, was accused of fondling a boy in 1978. BSA officials reviewed the case and deliberately decided to give him another chance. Only after he was arrested for abusing two more Scouts was he expelled. Worse yet, he returned to the BSA as an assistant district commissioner in 1984. He continued undetected until 1988 when he went to jail for sexual battery against boys. Floyd Slusher, a 19-year-old working at a Germany Scout camp, was caught abusing a boy. He was allowed to remain in the BSA and molested at least eight more boys.
8. Expelled Perverts Snuck Back into the Scouts
At least 50 sickos who were removed from the BSA amid allegations of abuse made their way back into the organization and resumed molesting Boy Scouts. They faked personal info or dodged the registration requirement. In some cases the BSA failed to check its own "blacklist." An Indiana scoutmaster, expelled for molestation in 1970, joined two Illinois troops in the following two decades. He eventually admitted to molesting 100-plus boys. A convicted molester in Minnesota was allowed to rejoin his old troop upon his release from jail.
9. Some Convicted Sickos Were Purposely Allowed Back In
In 1971, a 320-pounder in California named Richard Stenger, leader of the Sea Scouts, was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for tying up boys and fondling them. His house was full of bondage gear and pedophilia literature. He was sentenced to probation, and the Scouts "suspended" him. When his probation ended, his suspension ended and he was back in. In 1989 he padlocked an 11-year-old in a harness on a boat and dangled him for 15 minutes. Cops raided his house and found more bondage gear and a stash of photos of bound children.
10. The BSA May Be Less Screwed Up These Days
Two no-brainer changes to the Scouts' twisted policies may mean a safer organization going forward. In 1988 the Scouts did away with probation and suspensions. So now if you molest somebody you get kicked out. Good thinking. And finally, in 2010, the Scouts instituted a policy that requires members to report suspected abuse directly to police. Imagine that.