BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Shocking claims about the Boy Scouts tie to western New York. Thousands of secret files were released detailing suspected child sex abuse that took place from 1965 to 1985. At least 20 of the cases were in western New York.
The disturbing documents could have parents worried if their son is currently enrolled in the Boy Scouts of America, or they were looking to enroll their child.
Greater Niagara Frontier Council Scout Executive Russell Etzenhouser gave News 4 a rundown on what's already being done to prevent sex abuse. He says the procedure has improved over the years.
Before someone can volunteer or work for the Boy Scouts of America, they must first go through a reference check from chartered organizations like churches, schools and civic groups.
Next is a background check, that includes looking at any criminal history. Anyone who has a history of violence or abuse is automatically dropped.
Officials also check their ineligible volunteer file, to make sure the person hasn't been expelled from other Boy Scout troops.
Since 1991, no staff member is allowed to be one on one with a child. If a person is accused of abusing a child, officials are required to report the incident to law enforcement, this became mandatory three years ago. That person is also immediately removed from the scouts.
"The thing about scouting that makes us different is we want those parents to participate, and all that we ever do is open and every parent is welcome to come and see everything we do. We start from the criminal background check with every registered adult volunteer, we have ongoing training to make sure we have the best and latest methods to help keep children safe and safe from child sex abuse. But also as I said from all the different things that we do," Etzenhouser said, "statistics have shown for years that kids are much safer at scouting programs than being alone at home."
Etzenhouser says that regardless if someone is found guilty of abuse in court, if the allegation is credible, they will not be able to return to any scout troop.
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