Sending Office: Honorable Jackie Speier
In recent years, multiple lawsuits have been filed against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) detailing pervasive sexual abuse and cover ups that have raised serious concerns about the safety and well-being of former, current, and future members of the organization.
Additionally, recent reports have alleged that BSA engaged in attempts to shield volunteers it knew to be child predators and worked to advocate
against proposals in states such as Georgia, Michigan, and New York that would make is easier for survivors of child sexual abuse to report. These actions are especially concerning since BSA announced it plans to change its name to Scouts BSA in February
2019, and will expand its membership to include young women and girls, starting with the Cub Scouts this past summer.
Please join me in sending a letter to the leadership of BSA requesting, as part of their Congressionally mandated reporting requirements, a detailed account of the safety procedures and reporting mechanisms they currently have in place and those they plan
to enact to protect their members from child sexual abuse.
If you have any questions, or would like to sign-on, please contact
Anne-Marie.Boisseau@mail.house.gov with my office by COB Thursday, November 1st.
Thank you for your consideration.
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Text of Letter:
Dear Mr. Surbaugh, Ms. Morrison and Mr. Turley:
As Members of Congress responsible for the oversight of congressionally chartered organizations, we write with concerns regarding recent reports that Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has been advocating against efforts to reduce barriers for victims of child
sexual abuse to report decades old abuse. We are also troubled by the implications of these reports for the safety and well-being of former, current, and future members of your organization. Since the Boys Scouts of America announced it will change its name
in February 2019 to Scouts BSA, and in anticipation of opening the organization to young women and girls that started with the Cub Scouts this past summer, we write to request a detailed account of the safety procedures and reporting mechanisms you have and
will put in place to keep current and future members safe.
We recognize and support the mission of the BSA and the benefits scouting provides to young men and women. Indeed, many of the signatories of this letter are themselves Girl and Boy Scout alumni, adult volunteers, or both. Historically, BSA has instilled
in countless boys and young men the importance of service to others and the self-confidence to succeed in academics and the workforce. Former Boy Scouts have gone on to give back and become leaders in their communities and beyond thanks to the values that
BSA taught them. That is why reports of cover ups of child sexual abuse, and efforts to stymie the passage of state laws to allow survivors to seek justice, is so concerning from an organization that prides itself on building young people up.
According to recent reports, BSA has allegedly engaged in attempts to shield volunteers it knew to be child predators and worked to advocate against proposals in states such as Georgia, Michigan, and New York that would make is easier for survivors of child
sex abuse to come forward. Specifically, these bills would create a “look back window” – a short period of time where victims of child abuse can retroactively file suit despite a state’s statute-of-limitations. Other state proposals seek to expand the statute
of limitations by increasing the age to which victims of child sex abuse may file new cases and/or eliminating the statute-of-limitations for some felonies related to criminal allegations of child sex abuse altogether. Unfortunately, BSA is on record saying
they only support such efforts “on a prospective basis”. As BSA prepares to welcome a whole new group of young people into its programs – girls and young women – we are concerned about what your position means for the safety and well-being of future recruits.
Over the last year, stories detailing the horrific accounts of pervasive sexual abuse in youth organizations, such as U.S.A. gymnastics, have made it crystal clear that need to conduct extensive oversight into these issues. As a congressionally chartered
organization pursuant to 36 U.S.C. § 30901 et seq., BSA is under an obligation to comply with certain reporting requirements. In recent years, BSA has traveled to Washington to present its annual report to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives as
part of its “report to the nation” which includes details about your organization, the programs and initiatives it supports, and major accomplishments and contributions over the past year. We take these reporting requirements seriously, and as such respectfully
request a detailed account of the safety procedures and reporting mechanisms currently in place to ensure the safety of the young people in BSA’s care. Additionally, in response to BSA’s expansion of membership to include young women and girls, we want to
know what additional safety procedures you are putting into place to make certain that all the children in scouting program are protected from harm.
The well-being of all scouts is of the highest priority. As BSA enters a new chapter of programming for girls while it continues to cater to young men, we look forward to working with you to ensure that scouts can safely continue to experience the adventure,
excitement, and leadership opportunities that BSA has to offer.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this critical matter. We look forward to your timely response.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0