The Moose’s announcement this past Friday of former CEO William Airey’s retirement was woefully inadequate. It evidenced an attempt by the Moose leadership to cover up the seriousness of the allegations and possibility that there are others who will make similar reports. Studies have shown that most child sex offenders have multiple victims.
Noticeable in both of the Moose press releases on this subject was the failure of the Moose leadership to take any action to determine the truth of the accusations and whether anyone in the Moose organization had been aware of any allegations of sexual misconduct with children by Mr. Airey.
When accusations are lodged against any employee, let alone a CEO of an organization, institutions have a moral obligation to not only investigate them, but also to determine whether other children were sexually molested. This responsibility requires the notification of all other students who attended Mooseheart from 1983 to December 13th, 2012 and the encouragement of anyone who was abused to come forward. The Moose’s doing so would help ensure that any victims get the treatment they require and to determine what further action needs to be taken by the Moose. The need to appoint an independent person who is an expert on handling such delicate matters and to whom such reports of abuse should be should be made is critical, especially in light of the fact that head of security for Moose International is a long time employee of the organization and a former law enforcement officer.
Moose International’s responsibilities do not end there. An independent investigation, such as the one that Penn State University authorized in connection with the Jerry Sandusky case is clearly the best course of action. The resulting Freeh report http://thefreehreportonpsu.com/ found that other officials of Penn State had knowledge or reason to know that Sandusky was abusing children.
Moose International has not only failed to arrange an independent investigation, but has apparently decided not to conduct any kind of internal investigation. All that the Moose have stated is first that William Airey would not be around the children at Mooseheart until “further notice” and that he “retired” a mere eight days later.
These statements by Moose International suggest that their leadership is afraid of what they might find out with a thorough investigation. Mooseheart School and members of the Moose have provided great services to children for many years. The Moose leadership, by its inaction,threatens to obscure all of the good work that the Moose have done and to permanently stain the Moose. This is similar to what has occurred with the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, where millions of good deeds by members, have been overshadowed by the misdeeds of leadership.
Organizations that work with children such as the Moose must have the courage to investigate themselves when a leader is accused of sexual abuse. When they fail to do so, it is hard to escape the conclusion that they have something to hide. Anything less than such a probe is an abdication of responsibility and a callous indifference to the welfare of the children that have been entrusted to them.
Seth Langson, an attorney for Jason Peck