Posted at: 09/17/2012 5:21 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Local Boy Scout Leaders Point to New Safeguards
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It was a stunning report against an American icon.
The Los Angeles times says the boy scouts failed to report hundreds of allegations of abuse by the adult leaders of the organization.
Some of the cases date back more than 40 years.
But leaders of the scouts say there are now safeguards in place to protect our kids.
"Our procedures have changed a lot, as have most organizations that work with youth," said Paul Wilkinson at the Twin Valley Council of the Boy Scouts in Mankato.
Today, no adults get into the organization without being investigated.
"When the application comes to us we do a background check on every volunteer within the movement," Wilkinson explained.
And there are three things that will automatically keep people out: "A sexual crime, any crime of violence where a dangerous weapon is involved, and the manufacture or selling of drugs."
And all adults involved in scouting are mandatory reporters.
"Since 2012 we require that all suspicious of abuse must be reported to law enforcement by members and volunteers and our professional staff," said the Twin Valley Council’s Paul Wilkinson.
“I think scouting has done a wonderful job staying in touch with today's child," said Phil Minerich. He’s been active in scouting since his son was a Cub Scout.
“It's about community. This is how to share, this is how to give, this is how to care for someone, this is how you can help other people."
The national scouting organization has maintained what it calls the ineligible files.
"The files exist to make sure that inappropriate leaders don't get back into scouting," the scouts’ Paul Wilkinson explained.
“Especially when you talk about small towns like Austin, Albert Lea, Owatonna, everyone knows everybody, so the changes of some outlier getting involved in scouting and giving scouts a bad name i think are very remote," said scouting advocate Phil Minerich.
“Of course we want to take care of anything that's out of line, but focus on the good, focus on what's moving us forward."
About 1,200 of the "ineligible files" dating from 1965 to 1985 are expected to be released in a couple of weeks.
The files played a key role in a 1980's pedophile case against the Boy Scouts.