Scout officials discuss procedures in place to help protect youth


Last week, 1,200 cases involving people who were banned from the Boy Scouts of America were made public following a ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court.

Now, local Scout Officials want to ensure uneasy parents that the ineligibility lists that came from those cases, and procedures that the scouting organization has in place, work to protect and keep safe the children involved in the organization.

There were five local cases out of those 1,200 released last week and not all of the records involved sexual abuse. Some of them were just claims of inappropriate behavior.

The local cases, dating back to the 1960s and 1970s, were from Oneida, Uitca, Vernon Center, Boonville, and Lee Center. One file even states that a Commander and members of the New York State Police, who were active in the scouting organization at the time, helped keep one of the cases quiet from the public.

Now, scout officials are working to maintain the trust of parents and let them know scouting and the scouts are safe.

"We are very proactive in what we do in terms with our volunteers. in terms of making sure that they are the appropriate people to work with our youth," said Michael Donaghue, Scout Executive of the Revolutionary Trails Council, the Scouting group in the Mohawk Valley.

Donaghue says that four out of the five cases locally went to court and were found guilty. He says the fifth person didn't break any laws, but in the eyes of the Boy Scouts organization, was acting inappropriately.

"What's important here is that all of our leaders, regardless of whether they are related to scouts or not, we have them go through a thorough check, a criminal background check and a complete training," Donaghue said. "And there's just a number of different steps that they are going to have to go through to ensure that they are the type of leader that we are going to want for our children."

Over the years, the Boy Scouts of America has been recognized for the steps it takes to protect the children - standards that are upheld to the highest level within the Revolutionary Trails today.

"I can't speak for the actions that were taken by the individuals back then, but I can assure you right now that we work with the authorities if there is ever a suspicion in our current situation and we'll do everything in our power to protect our youth," Donaghue said.

He adds that there will be no changes in policies locally and that the Scouts will continue to follow the rules and procedures set in place at the national level.

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