Disney World ends support to Boy Scouts over LGBT discrimination

Walt Disney World has jumped on the bandwagon of businesses pulling their funding from Boy Scouts of America, as the organization still refuses to end its ban on openly LGBT adults.

Charitable contributions will no longer be made to BSA or local troops as part of Walt Disney World’s “Ears For You” grant program…

Scouts for Equality co-founder and Eagle Scout Zach Wahls praised Walt Disney World’s decision.

“We’re never happy to see Scouting suffer as a result of the BSA’s anti-gay policy, but Disney made the right decision to withhold support until Scouting is fully inclusive. Scouts for Equality will continue to advocate for a fully inclusive membership policy, to help build a stronger Scouting community that is eligible for the support of Corporate America.”

As the straight son of a lesbian couple, Wahls has been working to reverse the BSA’s policies of discrimination and exclusion. Since its inception in 2012, Scouts for Equality has succeeded in influencing seven major corporations – including Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel, UPS and now Walt Disney World — to end their sponsorship.

Bravo! I give Disney credit for joining a Free America. And kudos to Zach Wahls for his courage confronting an outdated administration. Scouting can do some real good – when ethics come up to constitutional standards.

Boy Scouts of America encouraged by Obama to end Gay discrimination

President Barack Obama on Sunday encouraged the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay members and leaders, days before the group is expected to vote on the controversial and long-standing rule.

In an interview with CBS, anchor Scott Pelley asked the president if he believed scouting should be open to gays.

“Yes,” Obama said simply.

Asked to elaborate, Obama – who last year gave his backing to the right of same sex couples to marry – said gays and lesbians should be able to participate in “every institution” that others can.

“My attitude is … that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life,” he said.

“The Scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to, you know, opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives, and I think that nobody should be barred (from) that.”

After criticism from gay rights groups as well as gay former Scouts and Scout leaders, the BSA national executive board is expected to vote Wednesday, the last day of a three-day meeting, on whether to lift the ban it had reaffirmed just last year.

Overdue. Now that people in all walks of life have succeeded in pushing Obama forward on the issue of Gay civil rights, he’s sharp enough to keep pressing what has become a leading issue for Democrats.

Republicans have a real quandary trying to assuage the True Believers they count on to come out and vote for Republicans – while continuing to sell out Gay members of their own party.

UPS drops gifts to Boy Scouts over bigotry

The philanthropic arm of shipping giant UPS said it will no longer give money to the Boy Scouts of America as long as the group discriminates against gays, the second major corporation to recently strip funding from the scouts.

The UPS Foundation made the change Thursday after an online petition protesting its annual grants to the Boy Scouts attracted more than 80,000 signatures. UPS, based in Atlanta, follows computer chip maker Intel in withdrawing corporate support for the Boy Scouts…

UPS spokeswoman Kristen Petrella said groups applying for the foundation grants will have to adhere to the same standards UPS does by not discriminating against anyone based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

“We promote an environment of diversity and inclusion,” Petrella said Monday. “UPS is a company that does the right things for the right reasons.”

The UPS Foundation distributed $45.3 million in grants last year. Petrella said she was not aware of any other current grant recipients who would be affected by the new policy.

Petrella said the company had been concerned about discrimination by the Boy Scouts before the petition drive.

The Boy Scouts said this summer it was sticking with the divisive, long-standing policy of excluding openly gay youth and adults as members and leaders.

UPS and Intel changed course after Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and founder of the group Scouts for Equality, began online petitions this fall at Change.org calling for corporations to end their financial support of the Boy Scouts. That call has been echoed by such groups as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which has highlighted the case of an Ohio mother barred from volunteering with her son’s Cub Scout pack because she is a lesbian.

“Corporate America gets it better than most: policies that discriminate aren’t simply wrong, they’re bad for business and they’re hurting the scouting community,” Wahls said Monday. “You would think that after all the Boy Scouts have lost as a result of this policy, they would understand that.”

The holier-than-thou-crowd continue to specialize in hypocrisy. For decades, the Boy Scouts of America kept track of staff and volunteers who sexually abused boys – and just as thoroughly skipped reporting abusers to local coppers.

Nice to see that UPS still responds quickly – when social injustice is pointed out to them. In one of my earliest actions against institutionalized racism, I was part of a group that confronted UPS for lily-white hiring policies in the northern industrial city where I lived. It took just the one meeting for them to reverse the program and reach out to the Black and Hispanic community.

Of course, that was 50 years ago. You’d think they might have gotten beyond needing a nudge, by now?

Boy Scouts continue their ban on gay members, gay parents

The Boy Scouts of America has reaffirmed its longtime policy of barring openly gay boys from membership and gay or lesbian adults from serving as leaders…The exclusion policy “reflects the beliefs and perspectives” of the organization, the Boy Scouts said in a news release from its headquarters in Irving, Texas…

Under growing public pressure to reconsider the issue, in 2010 the Boy Scouts formed a committee of 11 “volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate whether the policy was in the best interests of the organization,” the statement said…The committee was kept secret until now, and the Scouts declined to reveal its membership or methods…

“The Boy Scouts of America is one of the last cultural institutions to have discrimination as part of their policy,” said Richard Ferraro, vice president for communications with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, noting that the Girl Scouts, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the 4-H Clubs and now even the military forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Prohibiting or ejecting gay children or leaders sends a dangerous message to all children, Mr. Ferraro said, adding, “It’s policies like this that contribute to bullying in schools.”

Earlier civil rights struggles suffered through the vicissitudes of legal decisions, executive decisions. Like this edict from the Boy Scouts, the public good, rights of public access and freedom of association mean nothing to the bigots making the decision.

Like the battles in Montgomery, like the movement to organize farm workers, an honorable response to reactionary politics is a boycott. Personally, though I have supported the healthier aspects of scouting in America, I feel this is a solid reason why I will no longer support the Boy Scouts of America or recommend that any American who respects the civil rights of our citizens ever donate to the BSA, again.

They must work to rejoin the nation in spirit and deed before they are worth supporting, once again.

Court approves release of Boy Scouts’ “perversion files”

Oregon’s highest court cleared the way on Thursday for the release of thousands of pages of documents detailing accusations and investigations of sexual abuse or other improprieties by Boy Scout leaders around the nation from the mid-1960s into the 1980s.

The files played a central role in a civil case in 2010 over the abuse of six boys by a scout leader in Portland, Ore., in the 1980s. That trial ended with an $18.5 million punitive judgment against the Boy Scouts of America, the largest ever by far against the organization in a sex case jury trial.

The “perversion files,” which the Boy Scout organization said were kept as a way of weeding out bad leaders and preventing abuse, instead became evidence in the trial. And the state judge in the case, John A. Wittmayer, ruled that as evidence, the files should be released to the public under the open records provision of the Oregon Constitution, but with the names of possible victims and people who had reported accusations redacted. Thursday’s ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Boy Scouts of America, and said the judge had not exceeded his authority.

“Oregon’s framers sought to require the courts to conduct the business of administering justice in public — that is, in a manner that permits scrutiny of the court’s work,” the court said in its unanimous 31-page ruling…

The Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that the file system was kept confidential to encourage reporting of bad or questionable behavior by scout leaders, and that details of old cases, coming to light years after the fact, could still harm innocent victims…

A lawyer for the victims in the Portland case, Paul Mones, said the documents were not likely to lead to criminal prosecutions or many civil actions because of restrictive statute of limitations laws around the country. The documents in their current form, as shown to the jury and at issue before the Supreme Court, included the names of those accused of abuse, he said…

Mr. Mones said the stories and cases documented in the files, in whatever form they emerge for public inspection, would still give voice to victims who suffered anonymously. “They suffered very silently, and this is a way to recognize the real devastation that was wrought on their lives,” he said.

RTFA. One more organization that kept information hushed up, damning to lawbreakers, equally damning to an organization that didn’t act sufficiently to protect minors in their charge.

Boy Scouts in United States and Canada failed to stop pedophile

Boy Scouts of America leaders knew for years about incidents involving a Canadian pedophile who preyed on boys in the U.S. but failed to stop him as he moved back to Canada, where he continued his abuse. The organization sometimes even helped him go undetected by authorities, an investigation by CBC-TV’s The Fifth Estate and the Los Angeles Times has found.

Scouts Canada learned of his inappropriate behaviour in the 1980s and kicked him out, but nearly a decade passed before police charged him with crimes.

Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, Richard Turley was involved with the Scouts across California and British Columbia, molesting at least eight scouts…

When Turley was shown the 1979 confidential U.S. file created by the Scouts on him, however, he shook his head in amazement that officials had not contacted police…

“That probably would have put a stop to me years and years ago,” said Turley in an interview at an Alberta motel where he works as a manager and handyman…And yet I went back to the Scouts again and again as a leader and offended against the boys until they came forward…”

It was not until 1995 that police began their first large-scale investigation into Turley – 16 years after the Boy Scouts of America created a “perversion file” and nearly a decade after its Canadian counterpart put him on their “confidential list.”

In the end, it was not the Scouts organization that informed Saanich, B.C., police, but rather a suspicious girlfriend.

Turley was convicted in 1996 of sexually abusing four boys, three of whom were scouts, but later admitted to having at least a dozen victims…

Seattle-based lawyer Tim Kosnoff, who has viewed the U.S. “perversion files,” says historically the U.S. Boy Scouts “routinely” chose not to notify police when aware of child molesters, instead noting them in their own secret files.

The scouts in the US and Canada aren’t alone in this foolishness, of course. The leadership of any organization – civic, religious, sport or social – that decides that uncomfortable publicity might inhibit intake to their fiefdom and therefore they should keep crap behavior like this confidential is not just absurd, it’s criminal.

The victims of sexual predators haven’t much of a stake in the reputations of these groups. Just their own handicapped lives. RTFA for the long career of a pedophile who was barely slowed by lax officialdom even after being convicted of kidnapping. This may be old history. Doesn’t mean that folks don’t need to be reminded.

Abused boy scout awarded $18 million in further damages

A Multnomah County jury said the Boy Scouts of America must pay $18.5 million for the sexual abuse a former Scout suffered as a child — the largest such award levied against the organization.

Attorneys for the former Scout, 38-year-old Kerry Lewis, said the vast majority of sexual-abuse lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America since the 1980s have settled quietly, and the issue largely has stayed out of the national spotlight. They said Friday’s verdict, however, exposed the organization’s dark history with pedophiles and its unwillingness to come to terms with the problem.

“What we saw here in Portland has really pulled back the covers on the Boy Scouts of America,” said Paul Mones, one of Lewis’ attorneys, speaking to a crowd of local and national reporters. Mones said that although he considers the organization generally safe, it needs “to be open and honest” about pedophiles who are drawn to its volunteer ranks…

Lewis and his attorneys said they hoped the verdict would make Scouting safer.

If I was able to help save one person, this was all worth it,” Lewis said.

Oregon law requires that 60 percent — or $11.1 million of the $18.5 million punitive-damages verdict — goes to the state’s crime victim’s compensation fund…

As long as the BSA sticks to denial, refuses to face the fact that their inaction has perpetuated the problem – the lawsuits will continue to mount up. The potential service the organization offers will continue to diminish.

Boy Scouts of America must pay sexual abuse damages

A Multnomah County Circuit Court jury found this morning that the Boy Scouts were negligent and awarded non-economic damages of $1.4 million to a man who was sexually abused as a Scout in the 1980s.

Punitive damages will be determined in a second phase of the trial.

Nine out of the 12 jurors found Boy Scouts of America and its local body, the Portland-based Cascade Pacific Council, negligent in the lawsuit brought by plaintiff Kerry Lewis, who is now 38…

The jury found that the Boy Scouts of America was liable for 60 percent of the negligence and the Cascade Pacific Council was responsible for 15 percent. Together they will have to pay Lewis $1.05 million.

The jury determined that the remaining 25 percent — $350,000 — is the responsibility of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which had coordinated Lewis’ Scout program in Southeast Portland. But the church will not have to pay its share of the $1.4 million verdict because it settled with Lewis last year for an undisclosed amount…

Overdue.

We covered this at the start of the trial. The molesting – apparently – went on for years.

The pedophile responsible has admitted to molesting seventeen boys.

Pedophile trial begins against Boy Scouts of America

A civil trial that opened Wednesday in Portland will show that the Boy Scouts of America knew it had child molesters in its leadership for decades but kept the problem quiet, according to an attorney for one of the victims.

The case, expected to attract national attention, centers on a Portland man who confessed to Scout leaders that he had molested 17 Scouts but was allowed to continue joining boys in Scouting activities.

On a broader scale, the case is one of the first to bring into open court hundreds of confidential files that the 100-year-old organization kept on Scout leaders and others suspected of sexually abusing boys. Though the Scouts, based in Texas, have been sued dozens of times over allegations of sexual abuse, most cases have been settled out of court, keeping files from becoming public.

Patrick Boyle, the Washington, D.C.-based author of “Scout’s Honor: Sexual Abuse in America’s Most Trusted Institution,” said Wednesday that this case may be only the second time such files have been used in a trial…

The Scouts, Clark said in opening statements, knew it had pedophiles in its organization yet allowed Dykes and others to continue to associate with its members. He held up file folder after file folder from Boy Scout headquarters that he said proves the organization knew of at least 1,000 suspected child molesters from 1965 to 1985.

Those decisions led naturally, predictably and foreseeably to the abuse of boys like” my client, he said.

RTFA. Yup, the trial should be interesting especially as a parallel to the coverups maintained for decades by the Catholic Church, the hacks in Congress who belong to The Family, so many godly patriots ripping off the folks they swear to protect.