NEW YORK — A popular Colorado Boy Scout leader named Floyd Slusher allegedly had a strategy when it came to molesting boys: He first plied his victims with alcohol, then abused them and threatened to kill anyone who talked.
On one occasion in 1976, according to police, Slusher told a scout as he undressed the child that “what I’m going to do now, if I get arrested, after I get out of jail, I’ll come after you and your family.”
It wasn’t the first time that he had been accused of abusing a scout – an investigator later concluded there were too many victims to interview – nor was it the first time that Boy Scouts of America leaders had been told about the alleged assaults.
They had placed Slusher on “probation” four years earlier after he was accused of molesting scouts at a camp in Germany.
Slusher, who was convicted of sexually abusing a child in 1977, is among those named in 1,247 files on suspected and convicted pedophiles that the Boy Scouts kept from public view until yesterday, when they were released under a judge’s order.
The roughly 20,000 pages of files lay bare disturbing incidents of child sexual abuse within one of America’s most respected organisations between 1965 and 1985 and illustrate its long struggle to keep pedophiles out of its ranks.
“We failed some of our kids and we have to say we’re sorry,” Boy Scouts of America President Wayne Perry told Reuters. “There are cases where we failed to live up to our standards, failed to properly document cases, and fell short in other ways.”
Since at least 1919, the Boy Scouts has maintained the internal files to keep suspected paedophiles from re-entering the organisation. But in a number of cases, the files show, the organisation failed to take proper steps in suspected cases of abuse.
The organisation currently requires even suspected cases of child molestation to be reported immediately to law enforcement officials, conducts criminal background checks, and prohibits one-on-one contact between an adult and a scout. The group now rigorously trains volunteers and leaders to spot signs of abuse. (Reuters)
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