What Scout abuse scandal teaches us
By Patrick Boyle, Special to CNN
September 20, 2012
(CNN) — After being smacked in the face by wave upon wave of sex abuse scandals for the past decade, it’s easy to feel nothing but angry or numb.
So Joe Paterno’s statue came down, a slew of dioceses went bankrupt, and thousands of once-secret documents about molesters in the Boy Scouts will soon be made public. It’s fair to ask: Have we learned anything?
That makes it a good time to step back and look beyond individual villains to the big picture. When you put together the stories of Penn State, the Roman Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and other organizations hit by abuse scandals, you see they reacted in much the same way. Their behavior was shocking, but it was more common than we knew.
Thanks to lawsuits and news reports, we now see this: For decades, some of our most trusted institutions — from schools, camps and sports leagues to correctional facilities, foster care agencies and religious groups — have inadvertently enabled child molesters at the expense of victims. While leaders in many youth-serving organizations have confronted the abuse problem head-on, others routinely erred on the side of molesters, ignored the extent of abuse in their ranks, hid abuse from authorities and misled the public.
Why? To protect the good work of their organizations. They lost their perspective on where organizational protection ends and child protection begins….