LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–A social researcher who has studied sexual behavior for 24 years believes the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has sound reasons for maintaining its prohibition against gay scoutmasters.
A homosexual cannot automatically be considered a child molester, said Judith Reisman, president of the Institute for Media Education in suburban Louisville, Ky.
But with 17-24 percent of boys being abused by age 18, nearly as many as the 25 percent of girls, there is cause for concern, she said.
Since heterosexuals outnumber the homosexual population about 44 to 1, as a group the incidence of homosexuals molesting children is up to 40 times greater than heterosexuals, she said.
“You’re looking at a much higher rate of abuse,” said Reisman, a former university research professor who recently completed a study titled, “Crafting Gay Children.” “The Department of Justice just released data and the rate of abuse are off the charts.”
BSA’s policy has been the subject of constant attacks from gay activists, who have convinced a number of school boards to oust the Scouts from board property.
In a story that aired Apr. 1 on CBS, “60 Minutes” also questioned its validity. After California congressman Dana Rohrabacher called the prohibition common sense, reporter Lesley Stahl remarked that common sense turns out to be a myth.
According to the FBI and several clinical studies published in reputable journals, gay men aren’t more likely to sexually abuse boys, she said.
“In fact, the largest database of child molesters in the country shows that those who molest boys are over three times more likely to be heterosexual in their adult relationships than homosexual,” she said.
But Reisman points to figures from a 1991 population study by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
It showed that 8 million girls were abused by age 18 by heterosexual men, a ratio of 1 victim to 11 adult men. However, 6-8 million boys were abused by age 18 by 1-2 million adult homosexuals, a ratio of 3-5 victims for every gay adult.
Questioned about Reisman’s claims, CBS stuck by its story.
Spokesman Kevin Tedesco said “60 Minutes” staffers spoke with leading sources of information on child molestation, including the FBI, American Psychological Association and several clinical researchers.
The database was assembled by psychologist Dr. Gene Able, director of the Behavioral Sciences Institute in Atlanta, he added.
However, Reisman also cites a past study by Able to bolster her contention that BSA has reason to fear admitting homosexuals to the scoutmaster ranks. It found that 150 boys are abused by one male homosexual offender, compared to 19.8 girls by heterosexual offenders.
In a study published in 1987 in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Able said homosexuals sexually molest young boys with an incidence five times greater than the molestation of girls. (Calls to Able seeking further comment were not returned.)
“We looked at the leading gay travel guide,” Reisman said of her research. “Forty-seven percent of the 139 nations they talked about identified places to find boys. The average heterosexual travel guide is not concerned with finding children.”
Crime statistics also pose concerns. Figures released last summer by the Justice Department reveal that adults are not the primary victims of sexual assault, she said.
They showed that 67 percent of all reported sex abuse victims are children and 64 percent of forcible sodomy victims are boys under 12.
Two analysts with Washington-based, pro-family organizations agree that homosexuals pose a greater risk to boys.
Tim Daily of the Family Research Council questioned “60 Minutes” claim that adults who molest boys can even be called heterosexual.
“I guess you determine someone’s sexual orientation by their relationships,” said Dailey, who wrote a paper on pedophilia in the fall of 1999.
“If a man is married and has sexual relations with boys, he’s obviously a combination. To say he’s heterosexual is an outrage. Overall he’s a pedophile. Whether you call it omni-sexual or pan-sexual, he’s indiscriminate…in relationships.”
“Who cares if a guy is married?” echoed Peter LaBarbera, senior policy analyst for the Culture and Policy Institute, a division of Concerned Women of America. “If he’s into molesting boys, that’s homosexual behavior. It’s academic nonsense to talk about these people as heterosexuals.”
Editor of the monthly Lambda Report, LaBarbera has been following the homosexual movement for a decade. He said it is disproportionately involved in pedophilia, as shown by the large number of males among sexual abuse victims.
“The homosexual movement is shameless,” he said. “Gay activists are the ones who are trying to bring down (the Boy Scouts), a venerated institution which has very little to do with sexuality. They’re making it seem those who are against homosexuals are the problem.”
Among the reasons Dailey cited for being concerned about the potential for homosexual molestation of boys:
— Almost all sex crimes against children are committed by men and significant numbers of victims are males. In 1996, the journal Adolescence reported several studies indicate that up to one-third of all sex crimes against children are committed against boys.
— Even homosexual activists don’t try to hide the connection with pedophilia. In The Gay Report — a book published back in 1979 — authors Karla Jay and Allen Young found that 73 percent of those surveyed had had sexual relations with males 16 to 19 or younger.
— A 1999 article in the Journal of Homosexuality by Helmut Graupner argued that same-sex relations with minors should be considered a gay rights issue. The article argued that children wouldn’t necessarily be harmed by sexual contact with adults.
This debate flared up in New Jersey when a column by Toni Meyer, senior research analyst with the New Jersey Family Policy Council, appeared in several newspapers around the state.
Citing Reisman’s research, she wrote, “We must speak up in support of the Boy Scouts to our community leaders and not allow them to be unfairly and unethically pressured to go against their standards.
“To allow them to be denied the support they need or public privileges they are entitled because of that stance would be a total disservice to, and a potentially dangerous decision, for society and our local communities.”
That brought an angry response from New York’s Glennda Testone, northern regional media manager for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
“The incorrect stereotype of the gay man as a pedophile is one that has been medically and scientifically debunked,” she said. “Heterosexual men were responsible for 74 percent of assaults on male victims and 77 percent of assaults on female victims, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics study (July 1994).”
However, Meyer says those statistics only prove her point — a small number of the population is responsible for 26 percent of the assaults on boys.
“She overlooks there are a lot more heterosexuals than homosexuals,” Meyer told Baptist Press. “People don’t understand. You have to balance these numbers by overall population to see there’s a greater incidence of abuse by gay men.”