Nation’s largest Boy Scouts group issues new policy on sex abuse prevention

Posted at 7:15 PM, May 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-18 21:15:06-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The nation's largest Boy Scouts organization is implementing a new policy to help guard against child abuse within its ranks.

The Utah National Parks Council is ordering all scout leaders to be up-to-date on its Youth Protection Training, or they will not be allowed in the organization. Scout troop charters will not be renewed unless the training is completed.

"We are requiring that all those adults be current before we renew their annual charter," said John Gailey, the Director of Support Services for the Utah National Parks Council.

The Youth Protection Training is given to every adult in scouting, covering topics like child abuse, bullying and sexual predation. It includes recognizing signs of abuse, reporting it and preventing it. The Utah National Parks Council said it offers the training through classes, a DVD and online.

While the national organization, Boy Scouts of America, has required Youth Protection Training for adult leaders every two years, the Utah National Parks Council is encouraging its people to take the training every year.

"It's always a great reminder, keeps our boys safe and keeps us adults safe," Gailey said.

The Utah National Parks Council is made up of 89,000 youth and 5,000 units of Cub and Boy Scout troops -- mostly in wards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Gailey said as much as 10-percent of the scout units are not current with their training.

"We're trying to be as proactive as possible, including communicating with the units to give them lists of who's coming up to be expired, so they can be prepared as well," Gailey said.

The Boy Scouts of America has faced lawsuits in the past over allegations of sexual abuse. The Utah National Parks Council said it is not currently facing any accusations or legal troubles, but wanted to ensure a greater compliance with the policy. The move has gotten the attention of other scouting organizations across the western United States, Gailey said.