The Latest Sex Abuse Scandal: Boy Scouts of America

This seemed too important to just throw into an open thread so here it goes. Apparently, the Boy Scouts of America has an extensive archive of documents chronicling the sexual abuse of young boys by Scout leaders over the years, according to the Associated Press.

Here is the scoop:

The “perversion files,” a nickname the Boy Scouts are said to have used for the documents, have rarely been seen by the public, but that could all change in the coming weeks in an Oregon courtroom.

The lawyer for a man who was molested in the 1980s by a Scout leader has obtained about 1,000 Boy Scouts sex files and is expected to release some of them at a trial that began Wednesday. The lawyer says the files show how the Boy Scouts have covered up abuse for decades.

On Friday, testimony from a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responsible for a Scout troop of church members suggested the Scouts never provided training about spotting abuse or preventing it.

The trial is significant because the files could offer a rare window into how the Boy Scouts have responded to sex abuse by Scout leaders. The only other time the documents are believed to have been presented at a trial was in the 1980s in Virginia.

The details of the case are obviously tawdry. I feel for the young man who was victimized. I can’t help but think this kind of thing is prevalent in a situation where young people are entrusted to adults in a patriarchal institution whether it be the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts or the Mormons (who were also involved in this case). I know at my church we have responded to this type of abuse by making sure that no child is left alone with clergy, adults must leave their doors open at all times and all our classes are co-ed, including female teachers. It is different from when I went to Catholic school — and with good reason.

What have your churches, schools or outside groups done to prevent sexual abuse? What do you think these older institutions can do to reform themselves so that their children do not become sexual abuse victims?

In somewhat related news, the debate on Catholic priest celibacy and women deacons was re-opened last week as an Austrian cardinal questioned both tenets of the church, according to the Times Online of the UK. The discussion in the comments thread was interesting, too.


Tuesday Open Thread

What’s up?

In celebration of Black History Month this month, check out this CNN story about a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter 50 years ago. It still amazes me that this country had segregation only 50 years ago.

If you can stomach it, here is a depressing Newsweek story on children as indentured servants in Haiti.

Here is a game-changer in favor of abstinence-only education: At least one study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania has found that a third of 6th and 7th graders did delay having sex after taking an abstinence-only course compared to students in other sex education classes, according to the Washington Post. Officials for the Obama Administration, who have called for a scientific approach to sex education, have said abstinence-only courses like the one in this particular study could qualify for federal funds.

Laurie Puhn over at the Expecting Words blog cast a spotlight on a parenting philosophy of treating children like “little people” as opposed to babies and toddlers. In this case, a father let his almost 3-year-old daughter run around a high-end bar because she needed to figure things out on her own. Puhn viewed it as a lack of parenting while the father thought otherwise. What say you?

Starting in April of next year, fathers in Britain will be able to take 6 months — three months paid — of paternity leave, according to the Telegraph of the UK.

The taxpayers of Oregon just passed tax hikes on wealthy individuals and corporations to avoid a budget crisis in the state, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Here is an interesting article in Education World on how recess before lunch actually helps children eat more, behave better and gives teachers more instruction time. Who knew?

I, too, missed the Grammys Sunday night so here is a recap thanks to CNN.

Apparently American Idol will go on without Simon Cowell next year. Among floating names to replace him is former head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola, according to CNN.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Long Term Study on Positive Parenting

Here is a study to read when you blow a fuse — as I did many a time with my two-year-old this past long weekend.

“Positive parenting” such as warmth, affection and consistency with rules had a cross-generational, long-lasting impact, according to a study reported on by U.S. News & World Report. (Thank you, Susan, for the tip!)

CORVALLIS, Ore.–A new study that looks at data on three generations of Oregon families shows that “positive parenting“—including factors such as warmth, monitoring children’s activities, involvement, and consistency of discipline—not only has positive impacts on adolescents, but on the way they parent their own children.

In the first study of its kind, David Kerr, assistant professor of psychology at Oregon State University, and project director Deborah Capaldi, and co-authors Katherine Pears and Lee Owen of the Eugene-based Oregon Social Learning Center, examined surveys from 206 boys who were considered “at-risk“ for juvenile delinquency. The boys, then in elementary school, and their parents were interviewed and observed, which gave Kerr and colleagues information about how the boys were parented.

Starting in 1984, the boys met with researchers every year from age 9 to 33. As the boys grew up and started their own families, their partners and children began participating in the study. In this way, the researchers learned how the men’s childhood experiences influenced their own parenting.


MT Diversion: Traveling Abroad At Home

Cookie magazine had a fun article about places you can travel here that mimic foreign cities. For example, it profiled Berne, Indiana, because it reminded editors of Switzerland. It also gave Tarpon Springs, Florida, a shout out for its large Greek population. (I had no idea.)

Other places that made the list: Japan-town in San Francisco; Astoria, Oregon; and Atlanta.

The article made me want to go on a road trip. What other U.S. cities and towns would you add to the list?