When warnings go unheeded
Boy Scout and LDS church leaders should hold themselves accountable for dismissing warnings about a pedophile and thereby allowing himcontinued access to potential victims, write Richard and Carol Scarborough.
During the past week, we have been reading the Post Register account of sexual molestation of Boy Scouts at Camp Little Lemhi by Bradley Stowell. We extend to the known and unknown victims our sincere apologies for our failure in trying to put an end to their unspeakable torture and want them to know that we tried everything within our power to stop Stowell from doing any harm to them. We understand to some degree what they and their parents are going through as we also had a child molested.
Even after our notification of local Scouting officials had been ignored, we then contacted them at the national level. It is they who failed to stop Stowell from molesting your boys at Scout camp and possibly elsewhere. These Scout officials were told in a timely manner several times and could have stopped Stowell from molesting anyone, but they did not carry out their responsibilities to protect your sons.
The proper church officials also were notified. The former bishop was no longer bishop and his replacement was properly notified, as was the stake president.
These two individuals failed to take the appropriate steps to stop Stowell when they knew he had a propensity to molest. Their word would have carried enough weight to prohibit his being placed on the camp staff at Little Lemhi. We were told by them that the situation was none of our business.
It was then that we realized we were getting nowhere and we contacted LDS Church Headquarters to ask for its assistance in stopping this perpetrator. We also contacted a member of the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America, who was a leading church official. He tried to intervene to have Stowell disqualified from being on the camp staff. These efforts also were unsuccessful.
Instead, the Boy Scout leadership failed again by assigning commissioners to watch the pedophile. One of those assigned to watch Stowell was his own mother, Judy Stowell. We find this action by the Boy Scouts of America to be shameful and outrageous. Assigning his mother to watch him was equivalent to putting the "fox in the chicken coop." As we all have learned since, Stowell was indeed molesting Scouts and those who could have stopped him failed.
It has been said that when Stowell went on his mission to Alaska, he molested while there as well. Those who could have prevented this from happening were his bishop and stake president. These are the same two individuals who could have put an end to his employment on the staff at Camp Little Lemhi. They even failed to protect youth in the mission field.
We know the Boy Scouts of America is a fine organization that was founded on high principles of morality. Unfortunately, several good people made some very poor choices. Now is the time for the the Boy Scouts of America to accept accountability and be responsible. Those individuals involved in protecting Stowell, rather than the victims, and who are still in a paid or volunteer status with the Boy Scouts should be asked to resign or fired outright.
Now, this is going to be a touchy matter to some of our brothers and sisters in the church. We strongly believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needs to acknowledge that serious errors were made by some of the church's local leadership in the handling of Stowell. They need to apologize to his victims for this, assure the members of the church and the communities involved that this type of behavior will not be tolerated and discipline those who failed to heed numerous warnings about the perpetrator. Lastly, the church needs to extend the hand of fellowship and provide assistance to those who were molested in order to overcome this terrible event in their lives.
Unfortunately, Stowell chose the wrong path to combat his own molestation by perpetuating the evil cycle of child sexual molestation. He now has to live with this the rest of his life. So do his victims.
Finally, we want to praise the Steed brothers who came forward with their account of events and the boy, then 6, who told his parents soon after he was molested by Stowell. These individuals are the real heroes in this, and all of us should thank them for finally bringing this matter to light.
Richard Scarborough is a retired Army officer and Postal worker. Carol Scarborough is a school teacher in Blackfoot. You can write to them at 1565 Merrett Drive, Idaho Falls, ID 83404.