Counselor Urges Parents to “Protect You Boys” in Light of Scouting Abuse
With thousands upon thousands of ex-Boy Scouts coming forward with claims of sexual abuse in Boy Scouts of America (BSA) programs, many people question whether the BSA can truly atone for their wrongdoing. Many wonder if the youth organization is even as sorry as they claim to be. Steven Ing, a Reno-based marriage and family therapist, says the BSA is not in the least remorseful for their negligence towards children and hiding away the actions of predators in the Scouts.
In a letter to the editor in the Reno Gazette Journal, Ing questions whether the BSA is truly “devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in Scouting” as they claim to be. Ing has over 21 years of counseling experience working with individuals accused of sex crimes, and he indicates that since they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2020, the BSA’s actions do not match up with that of those who are sincerely regretful for their actions.
“Although we all know that corporations are, for the sake of legal issues, persons, corporations are emphatically not people,” Ing says in his letter to the Reno Gazette Journal. “No corporation has ever felt anything like empathy for victims they have exploited over a century. Although people in the BSA may feel shame, sorrow and compassion, the BSA itself feels nothing. The BSA is like any psychopath: unfeeling, without remorse, interested only in its own survival.”
Ing supports this position by pointing out the BSA’s move to legally shelter their major assets, which lowers its financial liability. One of their major assets is their local councils, which the BSA has tried to shield from the bankruptcy process. These are the same local councils that received between $8.2 and $20.9 million in coronavirus aid while over 100,000 small businesses permanently shut down. In fact, one of the local councils that received coronavirus aid, the Greater St. Louis Council, currently faces allegations that a former Scout was sexually abused three times by a Scouting volunteer in 2018.
Through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, U.S. Scouting abuse survivors were given a November 16th deadline to file claims, which came only within a few months of the bankruptcy filing. With the passing of the deadline, nearly 90,000 Scouting abuse survivors filed claims against the BSA. But, it’s suspected many more could have come forward with more time.
“That’s part of why bankruptcy is useful for the Boy Scouts,” said Pamela Foohey, a specialist in bankruptcy issues and an associate law professor at Indiana University. “It cuts off the claims"
Ing points to the claim filing deadline as a reason why the BSA does not feel truly remorseful about the impact of Scouting abuse. Ing indicates that the deadline simply controls the amount of responsibility the BSA has towards Scouting abuse survivors without feeling true remorse for their actions.
“Does this approach sound like that of someone who’s truly sorry for what they did, like someone who really wants to make things as right as the law provides?” Ing said. “Of course not…Because of my own professional experience, I know that there's a big difference between someone who's devastated by what they've done and someone who's sorry for having been caught.”
Ing’s final word of caution for parents of current and future Boy Scouts?
“Protect your boys,” Ing said.