In her letter on Oct. 27, (“Boy Scouts, Catholic Church need housecleaning”), Phyllis Berry wrote about the recent news accounts of child sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts of America.

This is an important conversation to have because it surrounds the safety of our Scouts. Let’s remember that the incidents of abuse referenced in the media took place before 1985.

Some individuals had misused their position in Scouting. It isn’t surprising that those who would prey on kids targeted those in the Boy Scouts, the largest youth-serving organization in the world.

I’m a volunteer and two of my kids were Scouts. I don’t speak for the organization, but I am proud of the steps it has taken to keep abusers out of the program.

Scouting requires background checks for every leader. Then the leaders have to take mandatory Youth Protection training every two years. Separate training is provided for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and their parents to help them recognize the patterns of abusers and how to prevent abuse from occurring.

Scouting goes further with its Two Deep policy, which requires that at no time is an adult ever to be alone with a Scout.

Scouts and leaders are to have separate sleeping accommodations and there are no secret organizations in the BSA.

Scouting has developed rules about digital photos, online activity, appropriate attire, bullying, hazing and more specifical rules to prevent abusers from reaching Scouts.

Nothing should minimize what happened to those boys harmed years ago, but Scouting today is a recognized leader in preventing abuse from happening.

Brewer School Superintendent Daniel Lee, another Scouting volunteer, said recently in the Bangor Daily News, “They do more in Scouting than we do in public schools (to prevent child abuse). Scouting is very clear about this.

“This isn’t about protecting the organization. It’s about protecting the child.”

Chuck Mahaleris


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