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Scout's Honor:
Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution

By Patrick Boyle

Prima Publishing (Calif.), 1994. $22.95.
Paperback, 1995. $14.95.
393 pages.

Book Cover



Carlton Bittenbender was a Boy Scout nightmare. He strolled into a church outside Washington, D.C., one January night with a jacket covered in Boy Scout patches, a personality that charmed children and adults, and a history of convictions for child molesting. When he became Scoutmaster of the church troop, he vowed to control himself - but his friendship with one troubled Scout forever changed both their lives, the lives of every family in the troop, and the Boy Scouts of America.

This is Carl's story and the story of nearly 2,000 other child-molesting Scout leaders whose cases were kept in secret files by the BSA. "Scout's Honor" shows why Scouting has been a magnet for pedophiles ever since its birth and explores the problem through a unique perspective: the eyes of the molesters. Readers will get to know Oregon's "Scouter of the Year," who says he molested more than 200 boys; the Florida Scoutmaster who was put on "secret probation" on the condition that he stop touching the genitals of his Scouts; the New Jersey man who was molested by his Scoutmaster, then became a Scoutmaster and continued the tradition; and Carl, whose sexual trouble is traced to his sixth grade boys' choir.

Their stories help to explain the most baffling serial criminals of our times - men who molest boys - and offer hope for stopping them.

What readers say...

"Boyle puts a human face on sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts by placing one offender's story at the center of his report. ... An absorbing, admirably evenhanded treatment of one of those things nobody wants to talk about - which, of course, is part of the problem."
- Booklist

"Recommended for public libraries."
- Library Journal

"Anecdotal, terrifying, engrossing ... Indispensable to an understanding of the child abuse plaguing American society."
- Robert L. Spaeth, Ph.D., The Washington Times

"Of more long-term value are Boyle's candid portrayals of child molesters. He interviewed eight former Scout leaders who molested boys and, except for pointing out their obvious lies and rationalizations, he allows them to tell their stories without judgment. It is somewhat uncomfortable to hear pedophiles trying to justify their actions by describing their 'love' for boys and by blaming parents they viewed as neglectful, but it helps to show how they think."
- Scott J. Wilson, San Francisco Chronicle

Scout's Honor, The Washington Times
Award-winning five-part series uncovers the extent of sex abuse in Scouting and the BSA's efforts to cover it up.
Part 1: Scouting's Sex Abuse Trail Leads to All 50 States
Part 2: 25 Years of Abuse Kept Molester Moving
Part 3: Boy Fled Terror, Shame by Suicide
Part 4: Corporate Policy Kept Abuse Secret
Part 5: Scouts Take Heed, Hit Abuse Head-on

Scouting's Gay Ban
Boy Scouts' Holy War Over Homosexuals, Youth Today
The real reason for the BSA's ban on gay leaders.

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Copyright 2001 Patrick Boyle