The organization's safety rules, such as the one prohibiting adults from being alone with unrelated youths, aren't always enforced. That has enabled some adults to isolate Scouts and molest them -- on camping, hiking and canoe trips, during "tick checks” for bloodthirsty insects.
Sometimes, it's because the person in charge is the predator.
Such was the recent case with William Hoefling, a suburban Detroit troop leader who took exceptional interest in a Scout he'd described as "shy and green.” When parents raised concerns about the relationship, "I quickly told them that I was the only one that was to correct” the teen's shyness, he wrote in a Facebook message included in the court file.
On the teen's 15th birthday, Hoefling gave him a small bottle of Canadian Club whiskey before a Scout meeting, the first of a dozen times he gave the teen liquor, according to court records.
In late August 2009, he and the teen sat drinking liquor in Hoefling's van when the Scout leader grabbed the teen's genitals. Two months later, at a Scout ranch in Metamora, Mich., Hoefling lured the teen into his tent for a drink and grabbed again.
"I was livid, and because I couldn't sleep, what he had just done to me … I really wanted to go away for a bit,” the teen testified.
He also was confused, he said, and stayed in the tent for another drink. Hoefling later snuggled up, wrapping his arm around the teen's shoulders. "I tried to, like, push … his arm off me, but, he -- I mean, he wouldn't get it off,” the teen told the court.
The teen wasn't Hoefling's only victim. The Scout leader also showed pornography to another Scout.
Finally, in 2010, Hoefling was caught, convicted and imprisoned for crimes including child sex abuse and criminal sexual conduct. He's incarcerated in Marquette Branch Prison, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.