Files from 1970-1991 reveal that Boy Scout officials would repeatedly protect child molesters- urging them to 'quietly resign' rather than turning them in. In 400 cases involving tips of molestation from boys, parents, staff members or anonymous tips, police officials were not notified.
According to an LA Times article, "In many cases, Scouting officials said they were keeping allegations quiet as a way of sparing young victims embarrassment. The result was that some alleged molesters went on to abuse other children, according to the Scouts' document and court records."
One official who was with the Boy Scouts for 50 years and had won two presidential citations and the Scouts' top award for distinguished services was a serial child molester- having abused 20 Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts had heard of an oral sex episode involving this man, but he was not arrested until six years later. The man was sentenced to 151 years in prison. One of the Scouts the man had abused became a serial child molester as well.
This summer, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the release of 1,247 of the Scouts' confidential files. As a result a $20 million judgment was made against the Scouts in 2010. In the words of Erin Runnion, the founder of The Joyful Child Foundation,
Mandated reporting of crimes against children is the law, but it should also be a required part of the training for any person who works with children. It is their legal responsibility not to report the crime to their boss, but to law enforcement. Whatever the policy of their institution, we are personally liable, not to mention morally compelled, to report any suspicion of abuse against a person under 18. Most states don't even train their teachers on recognizing and reporting signs of abuse so the fear of what might happen paralyzes people and encourages them to defer to their superiors rather than take personal responsibility for the protection of a child.
If you are a health practitioner, child visitation monitor, fire fighter, animal control officer, humane society officer, district attorney, school employee, film processor, clergy, social worker, day care worker, police department employee, administrator or employee of a public or private youth day camp, you are required under California law (Code Section Penal Code §11164) to report child abuse.
Whether you have been found out for not reporting a crime or you have been personally accused of child molestation, you should seek out a criminal defense attorney. Child molestation is one of the most serious crimes- if you did not report a sex crime against a child you could be charged with a misdemeanor, have to pay $1,000 and spend up to 6 months in jail. If you are convicted of molesting a child you could:
- Face up to 8 years in prison, if you engaged in a lewd act with a minor
- Face up to 16 years in prison, if you engaged in three or more lewd acts with a child
In order to find you guilty of child molestation, a prosecutor must show that you touched a child's body or forced him/her to touch your body, that you performed a sex act in front of a child or forced him/her to participate in a sex act with you, that your goal was to satisfy your sexual desires and that you were motivated by an "unnatural or abnormal" sexual interest in a child.
A child molestation conviction not only results in harsh penalties but also in a long-lasting social stigma as you can be registered as a sex offender. The public can often be biased in these cases so it is imperative that you secure legal representation immediately.