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Saturday, September 9th, 2023

Queerguru reviews Scouts Honor: The Secret Files of the Boy Scouts of America : an horrific and sadly true tale

 

Within the first 4 minutes of this film, we are hit hard with the unshakeable reality of this story. : This is history’s largest case of sexual abuse connected to one organization, larger than any other youth-serving organization, larger than the Catholic Church, larger than the Southern Baptist Church.

It’s a grossly disturbing story that went way beyond shocking me, on how the Boy Scouts of America exploited their reputation from the middle of the last century as being a sacrosanct organization when the reality was they had covered up tens of thousands of sexual abuse cases for nearly a century.  Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger keeps his camera rolling talking to some of the now-grown men who are still adjusting to the effects of being abused.  Sad to say these are the ‘lucky ones’ as others took their own lives in shame.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was a hotbed for pedophiles who needed no qualifications to become scout leaders.  In fact, even if any of them were caught abusing boys, they simply upped and moved to another state/city to begin all over again. Simple as that.  Why HQ ever bothered to hire  Michael Johnson in 2010 to be their Youth Protection Director is unclear as none of the hierarchy took him seriously, but he became the hero of the hour when he ended up blowing the whistle on the organization’s coverup. 

Journalist Patrick Boyle had managed to get his hands-on ‘secret’ files that the BSA has kept hidden away from prying eyes for years.  He was shocked by the few hundred cases he read about in what was called the ‘perversion papers;  which we discover by the end of the film was the mere tip of the iceberg with some 82000 former Scouts filing claims of abuse.

Like other august national bodies that believe they are beyond approach, it’s the sheer arrogance of the BSA believing that none of their activities should be scrutinized as they set themselves above the law.   And they made every effort they could to ensure that no one discovered the files of abuse ‘which allegedly didn’t exist anyway.

And then of course when the abuse started coming to life the BSA  claimed that it was all done by gay men ….. and no-one dared to challenge the fact that most of pedophiles are STRAIGHT.  To counter some of the charges that were now surfacing they went as far as introducing a BAN to stop gay men from becoming Scout Leaders.

Then there is Steven McGowen a rather smug one-time General Counsel for the BSA who blatantly deflects, denies, and loves to pass the buck.  It’s hard to recognize the BSA who he alone  is talking about.

When things came to a crunch and the 82K claims surfaced the BSA took two steps.  Firstly claimed that most were invalid due to the statute of limitations, but just to be safe, they put the entire organization into bankruptcy.

By then I had smoke coming out of my ears as none of the men’s claims were for financial reward but about getting their pain recognized so they could move on with their lives.  Whatever amount the lawyers can wrangle out of BSA’s deep coffers the organization will continue to be in existence without a single guarantee that abuse is finally over

SCOUTS HONOR is currently streaming on NETFLIX

 

 

Review : Roger Walker-Dack

Editor in Chief : Queerguru 
Member of G.A.L.E.C.A. (Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association) and NLGJA The Association of LGBT 
Journalists. and The Online Film Critics Society. Ex Contributing Editor The Gay Uk &Contributor Edge Media 
Former CEO and Menswear Designer of  Roger Dack Ltd in the UK    
one of the hardest-working journalists in the business' Michael Goff of Towleroad

 

 


Posted by queerguru  at  15:10

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Genres:  documentary

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