With the release of the “perversion files” compiled by the Boy Scouts of America, one of the talking points of the Catholic hierarchy and their defenders has gained more support. “See, child sexual abuse isn’t just a Catholic problem.” As Archbishop Timothy Dolan correctly noted last year, abusers are found in the ranks of not only priests but also teachers, coaches, family members, and yes, boy scout troop leaders. But the release of the Boy Scout files also undercuts those same talking points, too. As Archbishop Dolan incorrectly noted, the attention — and the lawsuits — aren’t restricted to the Catholic church.
Both organizations were clearly worried about institutional reputation, and the records in both the church and the scouts show how they worked to cover up, hide, and otherwise keep things out of the media and the courtroom. Both groups need to be, and increasingly are being, held accountable for this failure. But there is a significant difference between the two groups. One tried to weed these abusers out of their leadership; the other shifted these abusers around.
Meet the (formerly) Rev. William Cramer . . .