Volunteer Background Checks: Boy Scouts "Ineligible Volunteer Files"

volunteer background checksHave you heard about the ineligible volunteer files kept by the Boy Scouts of America?  It seems the Boy Scouts have kept a secret file since the 1920’s on sex offenders who are not allowed to volunteer. There has been a lot of pressure to release the secret files in recent years.  The Scouts have resisted stating privacy concerns of the victims involved.

Like a good game of ping pong, the argument goes back and forth.  The Scouts claiming privacy concerns.  The family of abused victims claiming the Scouts are concealing sex abuse cases.

The volunteer background checks argument has now landed in the lap of a judge in Santa Barbara, CA.   Former volunteer troop leader Al Stein is facing an April trial for allegedly molesting a 13 year old boy in 2007.  Stein also pled no contest to felony child endangerment in 2009.

The judge has ordered the Boy Scouts to turn over the confidential files.  More than 5,000 records going back to 2005.

The existence of a secret file is troubling for parents, the families of victims and advocates.  Secrecy has always been a weapon of choice for sex offenders.

Shh. Don’t tell or you will get in trouble.

Shh. Don’t tell or I will hurt you or your family.

Shh. Don’t tell because nobody else will understand what we have.

Let’s not pile on the Boy Scouts.   We see predators gaining easy access to children every day.

How about the high school basketball coach arrested in Indianapolis last week “partially nude” with a 17 year old girl?  Maybe there is a reason why a 65 year old basketball coach would expose himself in a vehicle with a 17 year old girl.

However, within hours of the arrest, the coach resigned.  And staff members said they had heard rumors about him.

We cannot allow a culture of silence to aid and abet predators.  It’s time we take a stand, pull back the curtains and let the light in.  Expose the violence and protect our kids.

This is precisely why a criminal record check alone will never protect us from sex offenders.  More than 80% of sex offenders are undetected.  They have never been arrested.

Unfortunately most volunteer organizations are extremely vulnerable to allowing a sexual predator in their doors.  Why?  Because safety and security has become a commodity.  We shop for the cheapest product on the market which we justify as doing something.

However, our enemy is much more sophisticated.    The cheap $10 “national” volunteer background checks are no match for sexual predators.   Since 80% do not have a criminal record they are not going to show up.  And many of those with a criminal record will not show up in these cheap database searches.  These cheap screening solutions being peddled by the background screening industry leave a trail of broken lives and shattered innocence in their wake.

We must recognize that any organization that serves children is a magnet for sexual predators.  They are knocking on your doors.  Shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to protect our children?  Don’t we owe that to our kids?