Former Boy Scout youth safety officer says group still ‘not safe for kids’

A former Boy Scouts of America officer tasked with protecting children from sexual abuse says the organization is still dangerous to children, and is not committed to reform.

Michael Johnson urged Congress to look into BSA’s efforts to cover up abuse during a tearful speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

In a letter to lawmakers last week, he claimed there is “a high risk of child sexual abuse that exists within the Scouts BSA” and that the group should take a dozen steps to become more transparent, including so-called secret malformed files. issuance included. .

“The Boy Scouts of America isn’t safe for kids. It’s safe, but it’s not safe for kids,” Johnson said.

“We failed you. I failed you,” an emotional Johnson told the survivors in tears.

    Cushman Watt Scout Center, Headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America for the Los Angeles Area Council
The Boy Scouts of America is facing 82,000 claims of sexual abuse by former members.
Reuters/Fred Prouser/File photo

Johnson was appointed as the organization’s first youth conservation director in 2010. He said the BSA has become less receptive to major reforms in recent years, even as the organization has faced more than 80,000 claims by abuse victims.

“Suddenly, I was not able to make the changes that were needed, and there were excuses and omissions …. I felt, naively, that I could make changes within the organization, and had some successes, but it was almost enough. Wasn’t,” Johnson said.

“I’m fed up with the people in that organization telling me what to say, how to say and what to believe.”

The former official said he was fired in December as part of a financial restructuring plan, and had not signed nondisclosure and nondiscrimination agreements in exchange for severance.

Michael Johnson
“We failed you. I failed you,” Johnson told abuse survivors.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

A BSA spokesperson denied that the group tried to silence Johnson, and thanked him for his decade of work protecting children.

“We are disappointed to hear Mr Johnson’s characterization of the program and the concerns he has raised, especially given his past public support for stronger measures by the BSA on his recommendation,” a statement said. read.

Most of the sexual abuse claims made against the Boy Scouts date back to 1990, before the BSA conducted criminal background checks on Scoutmasters and required two adults to be present during events.

Johnson claimed that known criminals still continued to slip through the system due to a lack of proper screening.

Boy Scouts of America Uniform
Most of the sexual abuse claims made against the Boy Scouts date back to 1990, before the organization conducted criminal background checks on Scoutmasters.
Christopher Millett/Eerie Times-News via AP, File

The organization is facing 82,000 claims of sexual abuse of former members in connection with its bankruptcy reorganization plan. The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice, which represents most of the accused, has received nearly $2 billion in settlements from the BSA and its allies.

Plaintiffs will begin voting to approve a new BSA bankruptcy plan later this week before the ballots are tabulated in January.

with ap wires


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