"Church And The Fourth Estate" investigative journalism about the BSA & Church's cover up of sex abuses

The catch-all forum for general topics and debates. Minimal moderation. Rated PG to PG-13.
Post Reply
Posts: 338
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:00 am

"Church And The Fourth Estate" investigative journalism about the BSA & Church's cover up of sex abuses

Post by IHAQ »

Though not without their share of image problems, the Boy Scouts have long been considered as American as apple pie, baseball, and secret bombing campaigns. And it seems that it’s just as American to facilitate a space for uncontrolled abuse and manipulation, then spend massive amounts of money to scare the victims of that abuse and manipulation into staying quiet and unseen. Available now from Field of Vision alongside an investigative report at the Intercept, the short documentary Church and the Fourth Estate is a powerful and harrowing indictment of massive American institutions. Brian Knappenberger tackles a subject many filmmakers or journalists might be too daunted or intimidated to confront: the absolute plague of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse inflicted on Boy Scouts by pedophilic Scoutmasters. The number of legal cases against the organization is rising to the point where they stand to overshadow the Catholic Church’s similar scandal. But there’s another massive, well-organized religion involved in this: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, another deeply American organization that had been inseparable partners with the BSA for a century.

Knappenberger’s brief investigation narrows its focus on one specific case, making clear that it’s only the tip of an iceberg. A thousand films and miniseries could be spun out from this subject matter, which deserves deep focus and serious reporting in multiple media forms, but it’s obviously a complicated topic. And as the film demonstrates, there are extremely powerful forces conspiring to keep these tragedies under lock and key — existing only in whispers, the repressed memories of survivors, and filing cabinets in Salt Lake City and BSA headquarters outside Dallas.
https://hyperallergic.com/623697/boy-sc ... cumentary/

Here is the intro and link to the video (It's a tough watch)
Take the case of Adam Steed, a young man I met while directing the short film “Church and the Fourth Estate,” and the journalist Peter Zuckerman. Theirs is a tale of a long struggle for accountability, a protracted battle against the massively influential forces of the Boy Scouts, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and monied interests that went to great lengths to defend those institutions. Ultimately, it became a story of grave abuses, a story about getting a public hearing about those abuses, and about the freedom of the press to report on a massive string of alleged crimes against powerful interests.

IN 1997, WHILE at a Boy Scout camp in Idaho, Steed was sexually abused by a Scout leader and Latter-day Saints mentor named Brad Stowell. (The Boy Scouts have historically been closely connected to the Church of Latter-day Saints, often known as the Mormon church.) When Steed sought to report the abuse, leadership at the camp failed to act, so the then-14-year-old boy took it on himself to call the police, who descended on the camp and arrested Stowell.

“That should be the end of the story,” Steed told me when I interviewed him, “where the good guys come in and fix it. But unfortunately, that was just the beginning.” Steed was shunned by people in his community and targeted by people in his school and church. Worse, Stowell, who confessed to molesting 24 boys and pleaded guilty to molesting two, was initially given a 150-day jail sentence — roughly one week for every boy he abused. Compounding things, the filings for a civil case relating to Stowell were erased from the public-access court docket — meaning that people could not get a full view into the events.

The full story would only come to light because of the work of Zuckerman, a reporter with the Idaho Falls Post Register. Acting on a tip, the paper sued for access to the court file and then published the story of Stowell and the Idaho camp in a series of investigative articles called “Scout’s Honor.”
https://theintercept.com/2020/12/21/boy ... ndal-film/
“I can tell you directly what I know: in a camp where I’m being sexually abused by a man, and he’s abusing other kids, there was an entire subculture of ‘it’s OK,’ and when it wasn’t OK, I tried to get them to turn him in,” Steed recalls. “They called their leaders, and they talked to me on the phone, and they tried to get me to not come forward, not talk about it, make me promise I wouldn’t tell my parents, and make me feel guilty that I’d destroy all the good in the organizations if I came forward.”

“We’re talking about the president of the Grand Teton Scout Council, Kim Hansen, and Brad Allen, who was the liaison for Scouting for the entire Mormon Church,” he adds. “At that level, these people are on the phone with a 14-year-old who’s being actively sexually abused, guilting him and shaming him. And during the rest of that week, I know that this man continued to sexually abuse other boys.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-teen- ... s-cover-up
Steed, meanwhile, was subjected to bullying at his middle school, the loss of nearly all his friends, and gaslighting by his Church.

“There was a letter going around [at the time] quoting the first presidency in all of the churches in Idaho and Utah and Wyoming, talking and minimizing what happened to me, the sexual abuse at camp, from the pulpit and sacrament. They made it look like they handled everything well and that it was an isolated case only. The cover-up by the Church was on so many levels,” offers Steed, shaking his head.
The harassment has continued to this day. “When I went to get married, [the Mormon Church] tried to stop my temple marriage because I was a victim of child abuse. They tried to embarrass me in front of all my family,” says Steed, now 37.

Apparently, a Church Elder with ties to the Boy Scouts called the temple, and tried to get them to cancel the ceremony. “My wedding started 45 minutes late with a frustrated temple president telling this guy, ‘This is my temple, you can’t mess with it.’ They tried to humiliate me on my wedding day, and my family had come from around the world to celebrate,” Steed remembers through tears.
The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints everyone...victim blaming since the early 1800's.
One of the most moving scenes in Church and the Fourth Estate sees Steed reading Stowell’s apology letter to him for the first time. “Sad when a pedophile says what the Church never said,” he mutters.

Yes, the Mormon Church never formally apologized for their role in the silencing of Steed, and the cover-up of his (and others’) abuse.
Post Reply