The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

February 17, 2013

Siblings discover dad’s Scout abuse, remember own

(Continued)

Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement to the AP that sex abuse of children in the 1960s was considered a mental illness, and Scouting policy has changed dramatically since then.

“Consistent with the thinking at the time, Scouting worked with medical counselors and this man’s wife to have him checked into a mental care facility and removed him from Scouting,” Smith said.  “The abuse of a child is abhorrent and we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families, including those, like in this case, who were abused outside of the Scouting program.”

For Carol, what shocked her most was seeing her mother mentioned in the perversion file. The document noted that Scout leaders obtained medical advice for handling the situation with her father “in cooperation with Mrs. Gray.”

Had her mother known all along what was happening and not done more to protect her and her brother?

“She was not the woman I thought she was,” Carol said.

Jim contacted The Associated Press after the files were released in mid-October. He did so because he said he wants to show that victims of sex abuse can, with a lot of work, live full lives. He believes that he and his sister are proof of that.

He also wants to show the real consequences of the Scouts’ inaction.

“One of the toughest things to get over is the shame, the unhealthy shame that your life doesn’t belong to you,” he said. “I had to recognize that it wasn’t my fault. I was the victim. Keeping the secret keeps power over that shame.”

He still struggles with the memories of his abuse.

“Am I healed? I wish that were possible,” he said. “Like a person who has lost an arm or a leg, I have learned to adapt. I do not think I will ever be healed. I can say that I am happy more than I am sad.”

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