April 13, 2010; Youth Today | An Oregon jury yesterday found the local Boy Scouts council negligent and responsible for how it handled a Scout leader who abused several scouts over a period of years. More importantly, the jury also found the national Boy Scouts of America negligent, responsible, and culpable. The jury ordered the local council and the BSA to pay $1.4 million in damages. Now the jury is considering the punitive penalty that will be assessed on the Boy Scouts local and national, to be as much as $25 million. Youth Today’s Patrick Boyle, who has written extensively about the Boy Scouts of America’s failure to deal with sexual abusers in the ranks of scout leaders, says that the impact of the case isn’t the money. The BSA’s brand faces big time damage. But there are broader implications. If a national organization can be held responsible for a pattern of sexual abuse by employees of a local chapter, it’s easy to see how this principle can be applied to another, ongoing situation where a national network is charged with covering up sexual abuse—the Roman Catholic Church.—Rick Cohen
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