Editor’s note: This editorial, written by the Anniston Star in Anniston, Alabama, is one of the best editorials we’ve seen on the need for safety reforms in the Boy Scouts of America.
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Oct 22, 2012
The Boy Scouts of America own a quality reputation forged by decades of teaching, mentoring and training young American males.
Last week’s shocking news — that Scout leaders kept thousands of pages of “perversion files” about accusations of sexual abuse of young Scouts — has sullied the BSA’s reputation and forced BSA leaders to address nearly a century of inexcusable actions.
Members of my law firm would be less than candid if we said we aren’t pleased with the publicity our work has recently won. This isn’t so much because of any benefit the media coverage has brought to us. It’s about the nature of the work we do: defending child victims of sexual predators.
From years of representing abuse victims, I’ve learned that the media spotlight is nearly always welcome. That’s because the press spells out the horrors of sexual abuse and the often egregious enabling on the part of institutions. And the court of public opinion demands change. We saw it in 2002 when the Boston Globe uncovered wide-spread sexual abuse by priests within the Archdiocese of Boston. In the ensuing decade, similar cases came to light nationwide. We saw it this year with Penn State. And now we’re likely to see the public demanding improved safety measures from the Boy Scouts of America. The media interest in recent days promises to give victims ever greater impetus to come forward and join the battle against pedophiles, so many of whom continue to function undiscovered and unpunished.