The Wisconsin doctor who admitted abusing Scouts gave up his medical license, but the Scouts knew he was dangerous all along.
Among the 2000 pages of incriminating documents recently made public in what are being called the Boy Scouts’ “Perversion Files” were documents about Dr. Thomas Kowalksi, a BSA doctor who was also a prominent pediatrician. According to the LA Times, after Kowalski admitted to molesting two boys in 1987, he was banished from the BSA, but was never reported to the police.
Because he was never reported, and therefore never investigated, Dr. Kowalski was allowed to continue treating children behind closed doors. Since the release of the files, more people have come forward to corroborate that Kowalski had either molested other children or acted suspiciously, including claims by his former medical office staff that he spent extensive time in exam rooms with boys that he did not spend with female patients.
Kowalski volunteered to give up his license today, and the Wisconsin medical board accepted the resignation.
According to the LA Times:
Kowalski and his attorney did not return several calls seeking comment Tuesday. When interviewed by The Times in September, he said he had reformed and had seen a psychiatrist for years, adding “Had [the allegations] … been publicized, I would have been out of business, reputation destroyed, and I don’t know how I would have faced people at church.”
It seems this is the perfect example of why the BSA is at least partially responsible for obstructing justice in some of the hundreds of cases in the so-called Perversion Files. By not acting on admitted sexual abuse and reporting it to the police, countless boys may have been subjected to abuse at the hands of their trusted family pediatrician… Someone whom the BSA had full knowledge was abusing children.
A quote from the Times from Sheldon Wasserman, chairman of the medical board of Wisconsin sums up the importance of the Perversion Files being made public:
“I don’t know if other states have done anything after the release of these files, but I thought what I read was so dramatic that we had to do something,” he said.
It’s time the Boy Scouts of America is held responsible for how it has failed boys over and over and over again over the last four decades. Even more importantly, it’s time we change our culture of silence which protects abusers more than children. It’s time that we do away with the mindset that says the reputation of a serial offender like Kowalski is more important than supporting survivors and preventing future abuse of children.
And finally, it’s time we learn how important it is that we believe abuse survivors, support them, and do our damnedest to get the perpetrators off the street and prevent them from abusing again.
What do you think should happen to the BSA as more information about their role in covering up sex abuse becomes more and more damning?
What responsibility did the BSA have to help prevent future abuse by Dr. Kowalski? Was their responsibility over once he was no longer affiliated with the Boy Scouts?