Boy Scouts' mishandling of past abuse cases beyond schmucky
Why brand the Boy Scouts of America as a collective schmuck after releasing files about volunteers and leaders banned from the organization after being accused of inappropriate actions (and, all too frequently, sexual abuse) against children? Because it took the BOA so unconscionably long to do so -- and because documents like those pertaining to Boulder's Floyd Slusher on view below show that crimes were frequently overlooked or shrugged off.
The BOA is admitting wrongdoing over the years. A statement reads in part, "There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate or wrong."
That certainly appears to be the case with Slusher. The Los Angeles Times has created an astonishing database with the appropriate subtitle "Inside the Perversion Files," and its blurb about Slusher neatly synopsizes his case as well as the inclination to protect perpetrators rather than consistently putting victims first:
Caught molesting a boy at a Scout camp in Germany, Floyd D. Slusher, a Scout staff member, was sent back to the U.S. but was allowed to continue working with Scouts. He was later twice convicted of sex crimes and remains in prison.
The Boulder Daily Camera expands on this blurb, noting that in 1977, Slusher was accused of sexually assaulting an Aurora boy he'd met the previous year at a Boulder Boy Scout camp called (cringe) Peaceful Valley; he was 23 and a CU-Boulder student at the time. He subsequently pleaded guilty to sex assault and was sent to jail until 1984 -- but six years later, he was convicted on three sexual-exploitation-of-children counts and sentenced to 75 years in prison.
If only Slusher was an isolated case nationally or locally. But no: As CNN points out in the item linked above, more than 1,000 individuals are listed in the document dump, and plenty of them are from Colorado. On the L.A. Times site, the map on view here in screen-capture form allows users to click on cities and towns to see the list of those from there included in the data, and Colorado communities big and small are represented. Denver, for instance, includes sixteen listings -- a few with names attached, others designated by numbers. (Repeated numbers mean repeat offenses, and that happens twice on the Denver list.) There are also some complete files attached, including one pertaining to Gerald Hall that we've included below. Reading it is chilling.
There are multiple listings for Boulder, Colorado Springs and other more populous places in the state, too. But even smaller burgs are represented. Cimarron. Walsenburg. Salida. Mystic.
That the Boy Scouts of America is making this material available is a step in the right direction, certainly. But infinitely more steps will be necessary before the organization can move beyond the horrific legacy of abuse.
Look below to see the complete files on Slusher and Hall.
More from our Schmuck of the Week archive: "Adams County's shmucky treatment of deaf suspect Timothy Siaki settled for $100K."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- West 32nd Avenue Restaurants Are Booming — And We Pick Our Ten Faves
Sat., Oct. 10, 5:00pm
Sat., Oct. 10, 7:00pm
Sat., Oct. 10, 7:05pm
Sun., Oct. 11, 12:00pm
- Supermax Censorship Claimed by Prison Legal News
- How Kim Kovinchick & Wenston Williams Were Busted for Knifepoint Uber Robbery