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By Stefan Kanfer

The Voodoo That They Did So Well: The Wizards Who Invented the New York Stage.

Soundings

Stefan Kanfer
Why the Scouts Ban Homosexuals
A New York scoutmaster’s indictment explains everything.
Winter 2002

Homosexual activists have been at daggers drawn with the Boy Scouts of America since 1998, when the Scouts decided to fire any troop leader who announced his homosexuality, and the Supreme Court’s backing of Scout policy in 2000 only intensified the conflict. In the homosexual activists’ view, the Scouts are bigots, exhibiting bias against a victimized minority. The Scouts respond that their purpose is to serve boys, not scoutmasters—and that purpose requires them to protect young boys from any pederasts who predictably might be drawn to them.

The Scouts’ side in this argument received powerful support recently when Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau indicted 42-year-old Jerrold Schwartz, a now ex-scoutmaster of the Upper East Side’s Troop 666 (Satan’s supposed signature number) for repeatedly sodomizing a young teenager in his group over a three-year period during the mid-nineties. On a secretly recorded tape, Schwartz admits to the boy, “I have a place for you in my heart, but obviously it went from my heart to the wrong parts of my body.” The alleged victim of Schwartz’s abuse is now 20, a pitiful, self-mutilating figure in a Florida rehab center for drug addiction and alcohol abuse. Last month, more accusations surfaced: four other credible victims, prosecutors say, claim that Schwartz molested them. In these cases, however, the statute of limitations has run out.

Though Schwartz wants a no-jail deal, the judge has given him a reasonable ultimatum: take your chances with a jury or plead guilty and face up to six years in prison. One of Schwartz’s earlier alleged victims offered his own idea of retribution, giving a glimpse of the kind of damage he feels the scoutmaster did to him: “I say ten minutes in a room with me—that’s a fair sentence.”

One such instance of sexual abuse is enough to make the case for the Scouts’ ban on homosexual scoutmasters, but Schwartz is far from the only example the Scouts have had to deal with. Ex-scoutmasters from Massachusetts and Iowa to Oklahoma and Utah have recently faced charges on such offenses. Cases of sexual abuse in the Scouts have been rising, going from 70 a year two decades ago to roughly 200 a year by the late 1990s. In a culture that increasingly sexualizes children and seeks to normalize homosexuality, no wonder the Scouts’ hold tight to their exclusionary policy. Parents won’t entrust their kids to the Scouts’ care if the organization can’t guarantee their safety.

For the homosexual activists, what percentage of sexually abused kids would be an acceptable trade-off against the self-esteem of homosexual scoutmasters? To any reasonable American, and certainly to any parent, the answer is: zero.

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