Detective Michael Johnson, the former Youth Protection Director of the Boy Scouts of America, has come forward to urge Congress to open an investigation and hold hearings which will lead to greater oversight of the Scouts BSA Congressional Charter. In a letter to the United States Congress, Detective Johnson shed further light on the dangers to child safety that currently exist within Scouting BSA.
The Boy Scouts are frantically attempting to get their Chapter 11 Reorganization Plan approved in order to keep doing business, in spite of the objections of victims and advocates for abuse survivors that it is woefully inadequate and unfair. However, according to Detective Johnson’s bombshell revelations to Congress, BSA has not learned the right lessons from their century-long failure to protect vulnerable children:
In my professional opinion, the truth is clear: no child is safe in Scouts BSA programs. The institution, as it stands today, continues to be a HIGH-RISK1 organization for child sexual abuse, due to the accessibility and opportunity the program presents to a range of sex offenders. Scouts BSA’s continued disregard for needed safety reforms, the organization’s long- established business and program model, and decades-long lack of transparency (at the highest level of the organization) with parents, experts, and courts. Throughout my time at Scouts BSA, I witnessed decisions being made that showed the top priority of the organization was not the safety of children, but the preservation of the reputation and brand of the institution and its top sponsoring organizations.
Scouts BSA and its other youth programs present unique risks and challenges for the commission of child sexual abuse and overall child safety that are not addressed in the standard child safety protocol used by other youth-serving organizations, and Scouts BSA does not meet an acceptable standard of care to assure parents and communities that children in the organization are safe from sexual abuse.
I repeat: Scouts BSA fails to meet the minimum standard of care for such a high-risk organization. Until stronger safeguards are put in place, no child is safe in Scouts BSA.
The BSA has shown that it is unwilling to take full responsibility for the abuse that permanently scarred thousands of innocent boys. As shown by Detective Johnson’s revelations, BSA cannot be trusted in the future with protecting our children. We agree with Detective Johnson’s statement to Congress–Congress must act now:
Scouts BSA continues to fail the very children it purports to nurture. At this time, I believe the only way to address the ongoing peril is accountability by a strong, independent, public investigation and hearings by our elected leaders…Victims and survivors— many of whom continue to endure abuse in order to receive their Eagle rank or others who were denied the rank of Eagle because they could no longer endure the abuse—deserve the truth. So do parents who trust Scouts BSA with the care of the children, and every innocent boy and girl who signs up with a troop and is instead put in the path of a predator.
Read Detective Johnson’s letter to Congress here.