To the Editor: 

I believe diversity in the Boy Scouts of America will strengthen the organization. 

Conversely, locking out Scout leaders, who happen to be gay or lesbian, could lead to BSA’s demise.  

There was a time when fear and ignorance determined who could be a public school teacher in this nation, too.

However, history has shown that excellent educators, gay and straight alike, care about kids, are passionate about sharing what they know and believe our future depends upon bringing up a responsible citizenry who will be tomorrow’s strong, conscientious leaders.   

How sad that the Boy Scouts are modeling discrimination, ignorance and fear, to those youth they claim to be wanting to nurture and lead by example.  

There is nothing honorable about intolerance or exclusion based on unfounded opinions and stereotypes of people they don’t even know.  

Let’s not forget that loving gay and lesbian parents also raise straight children. 

How will the BSA handle that? 

The sons can be Scouts, but their parents are not welcome or allowed to participate in any way? 

What happens when gay Scouts grow up and volunteer to become Scout leaders, but are turned away by the very people who taught them the leadership skills they now wish share with the next generation of young Scouts? 

What message are we sending our youth? 

“We condone judging others, based on our personal comfort level and unfounded fears.

Not “Whites Only,” but “Straights Only”? 

Sounds just as ugly to me. 

Surely this is NOT the legacy that BSA wants to promote.   

You would think, by now, that folks would know this line of thought and behavior is ridiculous and destructive. 

How many more families, children and communities must suffer because some of us can’t see past the log in our own eye?

Irene Andrews


(12) comments


As we are made in God's Image, I am reasonably sure God is not a homosexual. Nor are homosexuals being "ostracized" or forced to live as a "second class citizen". America is wrongly creating a protected class of citizenry based upon their sexual preferences, and giving them special rights, in violation of the Constitution. Poliical correctness has duped many into believing otherwise, and calling those who speak the truth names.


Ask anyone who is gay if they would "choose" to be ostracized, called names and live a life as a second class citizen. People are born gay and who are we to question G-d?


Homosexuality is a learned behavior and a lifestyle choice. Period.


Scouting sex abuse by country


In 2004, a 48-year-old, former Scout Association of Australia leader in South Australia, Gregory John Kench, was charged with having sex with a 13-year-old boy two times. Kench was sentenced to 10 years in jail. This was his second conviction in five years for sexual abuse against Scouts. The offences occurred in 1991, 1992 and 1993.[1][2]

In September 2009, a 61-year-old man and former Scout leader in South Australia, was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year old boy. The abuse took place over four years in the 1980s. The man was not named to save his own teenage son from embarrassment.[3]

Canada [edit]

Past issues [edit]

Scouts Canada has had issues with volunteers sexually abusing youth in its care. Over the organization's history of more than 100 years there have been several differing approaches to handling abuse cases, not all of them in a positive manner.

It was reported in a CBC documentary that Scouts Canada had signed out-of-court confidentiality agreements with more than a dozen child sex-abuse victims. These agreements reportedly forbade the youths from revealing the amounts paid or even the fact that there was a settlement and, in one case, from making any public statement regarding the abuse. CBC researchers found that 24 lawsuits had been filed against Scouts Canada since 1995, all concerning incidents between 1960 and the 1990s, with 13 victims signing confidentiality agreements.[4] According to one lawyer who has filed several cases against Scouts Canada in the past, "she could not recall one occasion during the process of resolving a lawsuit when Scouts Canada sought to prevent a plaintiff from talking about the abuse he suffered".[5]

Two months following the documentary, Scouts Canada's Chief Commissioner apologized on YouTube to "all former Scouts who suffered harm at the hands of those who abused the trust and responsibility they had gained as volunteer Leaders in our movement".[6]

Scouts Canada stated in the video that to their knowledge, they had always reported abuse to police, and had asked independent public accounting firm KPMG to audit 350 of their files to ensure "complete confidence". They also stated that they asked Peter Dudding, CEO of the Child Welfare League of Canada, to review their youth protection policies and make recommendations.[7]

Scouts Canada, upon review of the files by KPMG, has stated that it has not always reported to police its leaders who sexually molested children in Scouting.[8] In some cases, abusers had been "removed discreetly"[9]

Modernized screening [edit]

Scouts Canada has modernized its screening practices for adult members. Applicants must complete a Police Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Check (which would turn up pardoned sex offenses). As well, local volunteers interview applicants and check the multiple references they must provide. Scouts Canada volunteers are prohibited from being with a youth member alone; two fully screened volunteers are required to be present at all times. In the event that volunteers are suspected of misconduct, policy requires that they are immediately suspended and the relevant authorities are notified with all information shared.[10]

Scouts Canada provides with some of its handbooks, and online, a booklet called How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent's Guide.[11] In addition, it is a badge requirement in the Scout program for parents and youth to review a portion of How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent's Guide [12]

Individual cases [edit]

Richard Turley is a Canadian who had abused children in California. In 1979, the Boy Scouts of American told Turley to return to Canada, not warning Scouts Canada of Turley’s criminal behavior. In 1996, Turley was convicted of an assault four boys, three of which were scouts, in Victoria, British Columbia. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. A group committee chair had complained about Turley's behaviour and he was told to leave his troop, but he then joined a different troop.[13]

In 1997, John Adams, a former Scouts Canada leader, was sentenced to 16 months in jail for sexually assaulting a young Ottawa, Ontario scout. The abuse occurred from 1979 to 1985, from the time the youth was 9 to 15 years old, and took place in the offender’s home and Scouts Canada properties.[14]

In 2001, Brian Durham, a former Kitchener, Ontario Scout leader, pleaded guilty to 27 counts of assault, sexual touching, and counseling to commit sexual acts. Many more charges were dropped in exchange for his guilty plea. The offenses were committed against 20 children from January 1991 to March 2000. Separately, the court was handling six additional charges against Durham based on offenses he committed in 1973 and 1974 when he was a minor. The charges are under the now-defunct Juvenile Delinquents Act.[15][16]

England [edit]

A 37-year old man from Norwich, England who had been a former Scout leader pleaded guilty in 2009 to five charges of having sex with a child. The sexual activity started about 2004, when the child was 13 years old, and continued for three years. The offender, Julien Pike, was sentenced to four years in jail. In reaction to the case, an official of The Scout Association said, "The association is aware that Julien Pike has pleaded guilty to the charges laid before him. Pike was suspended from any form of contact with the movement as soon as we were aware of the arrest. The Scout Association carries out stringent vetting of all adults who work with young people." [17][18]

In April 2011, David Burland, 53, of the 1st Burnham-on-Sea Scout Group in Somerset, was bailed to appear before Taunton Deane Magistrates' Court after being charged with 12 indecent assaults, 13 counts of sexual assault, four counts of gross indecency and six of inciting a boy to engage in sexual activity. These charges relate to the alleged abuse of boys under the age of 16. Burland also faces a charge of sexual assault and indecent exposure relating to a girl under 16.[19] Burland had been involved in the Scout movement since the 1990s.[20]

On 25 April 2011, 44-year old Steven Etherington, from Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire, was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault. He bound the hands and feet of one boy and whipped him with a wet tea towel for not wearing a high-vis vest while cycling. Another boy was staked to the ground and tied to tent pegs in a star shape to teach him not to be ticklish. Etherington was The Scout Associations' child protection officer, in charge of training scout leaders across the Yorkshire district.[21]

Ireland [edit]

In 2003, John O’Leary, a 42-year old man and former Scout leader was sentenced to three years in prison. The Cork City resident and father of two was charged with having performed oral sex on an 11-year old Boy Scout more than 20 years earlier at Scout camps. The victim, who was not named, "...said he had gone through hell since he was sexually assaulted, suffering depression and having relationship problems. He said the day in court was a long time coming, and added that because of the abuse, he had been permanently stained for life.” [22]

In 2008, Wilson Reid, a 49-year-old Scout leader in Portadown, Northern Ireland, was arrested and charged with count of rape, three counts of indecent assault against a male child and one count of supplying intoxicating substances to a person under 18. These incidents took place in 1997 and 1998.[23]

New Zealand [edit]

A number of sex abuse cases have occurred in the scouting movement in New Zealand.

In 1996 Donald John MacFarlane was convicted and fined $15,000 for indecently assaulting two boys. He was a scout leader for one of the boys. The abuse happened in Southland between January 1972 and December 1974.[24]

In 1999 David John White, a scout leader in the Porirua suburb of Whitby, pleaded guilty to eight charges of indecently assaulting scouts at his home between 1984 and 1998. Two other scout leaders, Thomas Donahue and Neville Palmer from Whitby, were also prosecuted for indecent assault.[25]

Two Auckland scout leaders, Andrew John Pybus and Nigel Richard Fenemor, were jailed in 2005 for seven years for sexually assaulting two boys under the age of 16.[26]

In 2006 Ken Matheson was found guilty of two cases of sexual assault of a scout between November 1989 and November 1993. Seven allegations were initially made against him.[27]

Scotland [edit]
In 2006, Alan Grant, a 42-year old man who had held Scouting leadership positions in Scotland for more than 20 years, admitted to abusing two 15-year old boys in his home in 2006. To entice the boys to visit his home, Grant had set up a “fake camp,” complete with fake parent authorization forms, and obtained the parents’ permission for the boys to attend. Instead, the boys were taken to his home and given alcohol before the abuse took place. He was sentenced to nine months in jail. In response, the Scottish Scouting Association representative said the organization’s background checks were as “robust’ as they could be.”[28]
Earlier in 2006, Paul Firth, a former Scottish Scout Association leader, was jailed for a "indecency involving boys as young as eight between 1974 to 1996" [29]

United States [edit]
Main article: Boy Scouts of America sex abuse cases

There were 2,000 US cases of abuse within the Boy Scouts of America prior to 1994, and one abuse incident was as recent as 2006.[30][31] As a result, the Boy Scouts of America, the largest US youth organization with 4 million members, created a sex abuse education and prevention program in the 1980s called the Youth Protection program to help address the problem.


The Youth Protection program

is a set of standards, guidelines and training developed by the Boy Scouts of America to eliminate opportunities for the abuse of youth members. All adults are required to undergo a criminal background check and to complete the Youth Protection Program training before being registered as BSA leaders and they must be re-certified every 2 years. When properly implemented, the program also helps to protect adult leaders from any accusations of impropriety.

BSA has made the program available for use by other youth organizations, but the Boy Scouts have done the most in implementing it and have probably instructed more young people and parents in how to recognize and prevent child abuse in any venue. The Boy Scouts of America Youth Protection Plan was cited as a resource that other youth organizations might use in the Center For Disease Control' s publication "Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations:


Well Bubba, according to you the organization can exclude minorities, children with disabilities, poor kids, dumb kids, whatever the organizational rules outline. Imagine a white's only club for kids, oh wait, we have that and it is called the KKK. Homosexuality is not a choice. You are born that way. You can see it among animals in nature. Who are we to question G-d? The boy scouts will be a better and stronger organization because inclusiveness leads to everyone realizing that, hey we are not so different.
As for gays ruining the military, that is just not true. The sexual assault problem right now in the military is primarily men assaulting women. There is a great movie called "The Invisible War" that might give you some facts and insights into the problem.
My husband was an officer, we are a Jewish family. Happy Holidays is inclusive of our family and yours. Merry Christmas is greeting for just some in the Army. Happy Chanukah is a greeting for just some in the Army. Should my husband say Happy Chanukah instead of the more inclusive Happy Holidays. That seems to be what you are saying.


Oh, please. Grow up. They are a private organization and have every right to exclude whomever they want, by rule. It's called FREEDOM, which you apparently neither understand or tolerate. There is a great document that might give some insight; it's call the "Constitution of the United States". Go read it, get an education, and stop your arrogant and intolerant ranting here.


That fellow like VP Biden is living in a drug dream.
Fact is gays is a evolution dead end as they can not produce children.

If you don't believe me go the the park or outside city limits and count the number of gay birds and bees . You will not find any as if their ever was such a creature they lust them selfs extinct .Our children is the USA and the future best assets . Not gays they are a dead end. product.( yes they adopt children but usually like the football coach in Penn State to rape them)

Look how the gays has destroyed the US Military .Most of those sex attacks were by same sex freaks on our troops.

The Office corps which used to be the best in the world is now a bunch of brain washed fools whom are taught that the un normal is now the normal.
So Troops can now longer Pray or say Merry Christmas because it will offend the gay freaks in HQ.


The scouts are a private organization and therefore free to make any rule they want. You are free to not like it. They are free to exclude you and your not liking their rules from their organization, with impunity. You are free to form your own groups based upon your sexual preferences, and have the good manners to leave Scouting alone. That's what should have happened. No one has special rights or privileges because of their sexual preferences, nor should they be allowed to force themselves into a private organization that clearly does not desire them. This is what is very wrong with America today-that somehow I am obliged to tolerate lifestyles that violate my integrity.


Well, since I had a boy and a girl and my daughter was in girl scouts (she is in college now.) I would have no problem with men leaders. I think girls need positive male role models and their sexuality makes zero difference.

Dr Strangelove

So truebluebell, I guess you’re ok with young men being Girl Scout leaders too? Ask mothers of little girls what they think about that?


As the mother of a Boy Scout I was overjoyed to see the BSA end their discrimination of gay youth. I wrestled with my conscience over my son being a part of a group that seeks to discriminate against against children. It was a mean spirited policy and not at all in keeping with the traits of inclusiveness the boy scouts espouse. I am disheartened, however, that these boys will grow up, become Eagle Scouts and then not get to pass that wisdom and tradition to the next generation simply because they are gay. G-d made us in his image and who are any of us to question why he made some people heterosexual and some homosexual. I am confident that in time the Boy Scouts will see the wisdom of the experience gay boy scouts can bring as leaders. They are no more or less likely to behave inappropriately than heterosexual leaders. Any leader that violates the trust of a child should not be involved with scouting (or anything to do with children.) I happen to know Ms. Andrews and know that my son would be lucky to have her as his scoutmaster. I am proud of their decision to stop discriminating against youth, but it is time they stopped discriminating against adult leaders too.

Dr Strangelove

Irene, how dare you compare homosexually to race ask Blacks and Hispanics if it’s the same thing—IT’S NOT! I’m sick and tired of liberals comparing race to a sexual disorder—BTW I did support homosexuals serving in our military. Being a Boy Scout leader is different.

Let’s not forget the sexual scandal in the Church. First let me point out CNN producers lied and knew it was a lie calling the Priests pedophiles; you see in the PC world you can’t say anything bad about homosexuals. After the investigation it proved these Priests were grown homosexual men molesting teenage boys. During the 1930’s though the 1970’s homosexual men flocked to the Priesthood. This has happened in other countries too. That is the Catholic side, the Protestant side is worst but it’s hard to get numbers because they are so separated. United States 2% of homosexual Priests were molesting teenage boys, Protestants is estimated 8 to 11%.

Just like a small percentage heterosexual men molest teenage girls, a small percentage of homosexual men molest teenage boys. You don’t this think this will happen with the Boy Scouts? The Catholic Church allowed homosexual men to enter the Priesthood look what happened. The Church no longer allows homosexuals to enter the Priesthood—they’ve learned maybe you should too.

If homosexuals are all that concerned maybe they should make a private club like the Gay Scouts of America.

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