(NEW YORK) — The Boy Scouts of America, an organization that’s been around for 110 years, recently filed for bankruptcy amid accusations that thousands of scouts were sexually abused by scout leaders, organizers or other scouts.
But as ABC’s Cheri Preston reports for ABC News Radio’s “Perspective” podcast, that doesn’t mean the organization’s objectives have to be lost.
Clay Risen, an Op-Ed opinion writer for The New York Times, spoke with Preston about his recent piece, “Save Scouting. End the Boy Scouts,” in which he discusses his own experience as a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Eagle Scout in Nashville, Tennessee years ago.
Risen says it’s important to keep scouting alive.
“The men who led my troop were upstanding, wise, kind men,” Risen said. “That should be able to continue in some way, because those organizations, some of them are decades, you know, generations old.”
While Risen’s experience as a Boy Scout was positive, he said that wasn’t always the case.
“I left scouts right about when the scandals and the cases started to bubble up where … it’s not that anyone thought there wasn’t abuse in the Boy Scouts, but it started to become apparent that there was a real problem,” Risen said.
The century-old organization has filed for Chapter 11 protection, which will allow the scouting group to keep functioning while mapping out what the future holds.
“In 2010 to 2012, it became apparent to the public that there was, what they called a perversion file. And these were what are reportedly thousands of files of both abuse complaints, complaints about abuse by mostly adult scoutmasters, but in some cases, other scouts that the Boy Scouts have kept confidential,” Risen said.
After the organization filed for bankruptcy, Boy Scouts of America National Chairman Jim Turley shared an open letter to victims, in which he apologized for the entire scouting community and encouraged victims to come forward if they haven’t already.
In his piece in the Times, Risen says that there’s both a demand and a need for something like Boy Scouts — even if the organization itself “may have entered its final chapter.”
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