In recent years, Boys Scouts Of America (BSA) has made long-overdue strides toward becoming a more inclusive organization, officially welcoming gay youth into their programs in 2014, male-identifying trans youth in 2017, and, a year later, announcing it would allow girls to take part in the Cub Scouts, too.
But those small steps of progress can’t even begin to make up for the years and years of hateful rhetoric, exclusion, and other controversies that have mired the organization over the past century. In fact, in 2020, the BSA had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid thousands of child sex abuse claims—many of which had been previously swept under the rug by officials.
Now, a bracing new documentary sheds further light on the BSA’s history of child sexual abuse, and its efforts to cover up those allegations against various Scout leaders.
Boys Scout’s Honor frames its chilling exposé around the story of former Scout, Aaron Averhart. As Averhart recounts, he was only 8 years old when he first met Boy Scout leader, William (Bill) Sheehan. At the time, Averhart was just shy of making the move up from Cub Scout to Boy Scout, and Sheehan helped him move through the ranks.
Averhart only gradually became aware of the fact that he was being “groomed” by Sheehan, and now looks back on those years with a stark clarity, and with wholly justifiable fear and frustration.
His recollections dovetail with Boys Scout’s Honor‘s broader revelations that, since the 1920s, the BSA has been keeping files on dangerous pedophiles in their ranks—and literally locking those files away. After decades of thinking he was alone, Averhart’s research into his harrowing past led him to uncovering of dozens other victims, just like him, in a town 1,500 miles away.
Directed by Ash Patino (PTSD: The Walking Wounded), the documentary tells its shocking story through first-hand accounts and expert commentary, unraveling a true-crime narrative with nationwide implications.
Boys Scout’s Honor will be available on VOD/digital platforms beginning December 13. Watch the trailer below…