Boy Scouts jack up membership fees to cover skyrocketing sexual abuse lawsuits

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NORTH BELLMORE, N.Y. – An assistant scoutmaster on Long Island has been charged with sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy during Boy Scout retreats and meetings over an 11-month period last year.

Fox news reports that Jonathan Spohrer, 26, was arrested by Nassau County police at his North Bellmore home on Thursday. He pleaded not guilty on Friday to a charge of second-degree sexual conduct against a child.

Boy Scouts jack up membership fees to cover skyrocketing sexual abuse lawsuits
The Boy Scouts of America are facing a massive number of lawsuits from past members claiming they’d been abused by their leaders. (Nassau County Police)

 

Police say the Spohrer abused the boy when the two attended Boy Scouts retreats across New York state from January through November of 2018.

Chris Coscia, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Council of the Boy Scouts, said the organization is “shocked and disgusted” at the alleged behavior.

“Upon learning of these reports, we removed this individual and prohibited him from any future participation in our programs,” Coscia said in a statement.

He said the Scouts have a “multi-layered process of safeguards” to prevent abuse.

The news of Spohrer’s alleged abuse comes as the Boy Scouts of America are facing a myriad of lawsuits over alleged sexual misconduct.

 

In a somewhat related matter, last week, the organization said it would raise its annual membership fee by more than 80 percent next year to help ease some of the financial burdens associated with ongoing litigation from plaintiffs alleging abuse by scout leaders when they were younger.

 “[T]he Boy Scouts of America made this difficult, but necessary, decision so we can continue to provide essential services that support once-in-a-lifetime adventures in a safe and welcoming place,” the organization said in a statement to Fox News.

In a related case, Cub Scout leader Matthew Baker of O’Fallon, Missouri was charged with having sex with an 8-year-old boy in his Cub Scout troop. Prosecutors charged Baker, 48, with statutory sodomy or attempted statutory sodomy with a person under the age of 12.

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Boy Scouts jack up membership fees to cover skyrocketing sexual abuse lawsuits

 

The Greater St. Louis Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America issued a statement: 

“The behavior included in these allegations is abhorrent and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. Upon learning of these reports, we took immediate action to remove this individual and prohibit him from any future participation in our programs.  Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members. We seek to prevent child abuse through comprehensive policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse. These include a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff, criminal background checks, requiring two or more adult leaders be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.  Anyone with any information on potential abuse should contact authorities to ensure the safety of our youth, in and out of Scouting.”

 

In 1994, Garth David Snively, a former Boy Scout leader, was convicted for two counts of first-degree child molestation and sentenced to 11 years after his 1993 arrest for molesting at least 20 Boy Scout members of various ages over several years, as well as while a mentor in the Big Brothers program.

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