The thousands of men expelled from the Boy Scouts of America on suspicion of molesting children came from all walks of life: teachers and plumbers, doctors and bus drivers, politicians, and policemen, reports the Los Angeles Times. They ranged in age from teens to senior citizens and came from troops in every state. As the Scouts long have said, the files suggest no single profile of a predator.
A close look at nearly 1,900 confidential files opened between 1970 and 1991 showed a pattern: Many suspected molesters engaged in what psychologists today call “grooming behavior,” a gradual seduction in which predators lavish children with attention, favors, and gifts. In hundreds of cases, Scout leaders allowed the boys to drive cars, drink alcohol, or look at pornography. They gradually tested physical boundaries during skinny dipping, group showers, sleepovers, and one-on-one activities. “He combs the boys’ hair and buys them clothes and dinner,” one mother wrote to a Scouting official in 1985 about a scoutmaster. “He takes them to church, motorcycle riding, skiing, flying. [ ] Everybody thought he was a real nice guy. Now we know why he did these things.”