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Utah Scout Groups Likely Insulated From National Sex Assault Allegations, Financial Strain Remains

Image of scouts uniform. / AmyKerk

Local Boy Scout councils in Utah will remain insulated from a rash of sex assault accusations and possible bankruptcy from settlements aimed at the organization’s national council.

Accusations of sexual misconduct in New York State emerged this week after the recent passage of a law to extend the statute of limitations there. That allowed past victims of assaults to sue.

Similar accusations have not erupted here in Utah, which does not have a statute of limitations on criminal sexual assault cases against minors.

“There are people that may have done something that came to our attention and we removed them from Scouting. But, in every case since I’ve been here it was in a church or school situation. Not a Scouting situation,” said Mark Griffin, Scouting Executive of the Great Salt Lake Council.

In other words, volunteers have been removed from local troops because of assault allegations in non-scouting settings.

According to Griffin the financial strains causing the Boy Scouts of America National Council to consider bankruptcy won’t affect local councils or troops in Utah.

“It doesn’t affect us at all. We’re a separate corporation,” Griffin said.

Scout councils in Utah have some of the highest enrollment in the country because of the Boy Scouts’ historic connection to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. According to Griffin 50% of eligible youth are members in Utah, compared to about 10% in most of the country. But that’s likely to change.

In 2018 the Church announced it would drop the requirement that young men participate in Scouts, putting councils in Utah under financial pressure. Griffin says LDS families contribute 90% of the Great Salt Lake Council’s general operating funds.

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