Downey vs Boy Scouts court docs

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COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
GOVERNOR'S OFFICE
PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION

MARGARET DOWNEY-SCHOTTMILLER, Complainant
v.

CHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA,
Respondent
DOCKET NO. P-3986

STIPULATIONS OF FACT
FINDINGS OF FACT
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
OPINION
FINAL ORDER
CONCURRING OPINION
DISSENTING CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
DISSENTING OPINION
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COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
GOVERNOR'S OFFICE
PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION

MARGARET DOWNEY-SCHOTTMILLER, Complainant
v.

CHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA,
Respondent
DOCKET NO. P-3986

STIPULATIONS OF FACT
The above referenced parties agree to the following facts as undisputed:
1. The Complainant herein is Margaret Downey-Schottmiller, an adult female.
2. The Complainant, on or about December 8, 1992, filed a verified complaint with the
Commission.
3. The Respondent herein is the Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America.
4. The Respondent, a non-profit corporation is a local council chartered by the Boy
Scouts of America (BSA) to support the activities of Scouting groups within Chester
County and a portion of Cecil County, Maryland.
5. The Respondent has headquarters office located at 504 South Concord Road, West
Chester, Pa 19382.
6. Commission staff investigated the allegations of unlawful discrimination made by the
complainant in her complaint and determined that there was probable cause to credit such allegations.
7. The parties attempted to conciliate this matter but failed to do so.
8. Because the parties failed to conciliate this matter the Commission approved this case for a public hearing and the parties were notified.
9. The BSA was federally chartered by Act of Congress in 1916, to "promote, through
organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for
themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and kindred virtues, using the methods which were in common use by Boy Scouts on June 15, 1916" through Congress in 1916.
36 U.S.C. §23.
10. The general powers and duties of the BSA include the ability of the BSA to "make and
adopt by laws, rules, and regulations not inconsistent with laws of the United States of
America, or any State thereof, and generally to do wll things ...as may be necessary to
background image carry into effect the provisions of this chapter and promote the purposes of said corporation". 36 U.S.C.§22.
11. The Respondent stipulates to the authenticity of the BSA authors and owns the copyrights to Handbook for Boys, Boy Scout Requirements, The Boy Scout Handbook, and The Scoutmaster Handbook.
12. The BSA endeavors "to supplement the various existing educational agencies, and to promote the ability in boys to do things for themselves and others." Handbook for Boys, at page 3.
13. Respondent Council and other councils "make training courses available for troop
leaders, provide local camping facilities, make available such program material as
literature and audiovisuals, conduct district and council program events open to all
troops, maintain basic troop records, and provide year round service by commissioners
and local staff people." The Scoutmaster Handbook, at page 18.
14. The Boy Scouts of America has created policies applicable to all Boy Scout troops.
Date - May 18, 1999

FINDINGS OF FACT *
1. Margaret Downey-Schottmiller (hereinafter "Complainant") is an adult residing in
Chester County, Pennsylvania. (SF 1.)
2. Respondent Chester County Council, Boy Scouts of America (hereinafter "Respondent"), is a corporation incorporated pursuant to the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, "irrevocably dedicated to the charitable and educational purposes of
carrying out the program of the Boy Scouts of America." (Ex C-6.)
3. In her complaint, Complainant alleges that Respondent subjected her to unlawful
discrimination because she was unwilling to sign a membership application which
required "religious affirmation to belief in God."
4. The Complainant stated in her complaint that she and her minor son Matthew were non- theists, Free Thinkers.
5. Matthew Schottmiller is not a named complainant and is now over twenty-one years of
age. (TR, p.81.)
* The foregoing Stipulations of Fact are incorporated herein as if fully set forth.
To the extent that the Opinion which follows recites facts in addition to those here
listed, such facts shall be considered to be additional findings of fact. The
following abbreviations will be utilized throughout these findings of fact for
reference purposes:
Ex C- Complainant's Exhibit
Ex R- Respondent's Exhibit
SF - Stipulations of Fact
TR - Transcript
6. Matthew Schottmiller did not testify at the public hearing. (TR, p.l 04.)
7. In August 1992, Complainant telephoned Respondent's office in regard to serving as a volunteer Scout leader. (Ex R-1; TR, p.83.)
8. The Complainant was told that in order to serve as a volunteer Scout leader, she would have to take the Scout Oath which includes an oath to do one's duty to God. (TR, p.l01.)
9. In January 1993, Complainant completed an application on behalf of her son, deliberately striking through the word "God." (TR, pp.74, 76.)
10. The Respondent returned that application to the Complainant. (Ex C-4.)
11. At the public hearing, Complainant did present an undated" Adult Volunteer Application" on which she had struck out the word "God." (Ex C-4.)
12. Even though Complainant did not recall submitting the application, the Complainant's present complaint is based on her conversation with Mr. Beauregard. {TR, p.1 06.}
13. Thereafter the Complainant filed her complaint, dated December 8, 1992, with the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
14. Boy Scouts of America, not a party here, is a national, charitable, youth membership
organization which provides volunteer-led programs, including the Boy Scouting and
Cub Scouting programs, to youths who join as members. (Ex R-50.)
15. The three aims of Scouting are (a) citizenship; (b) growth and moral strength in character; and (c) mental and physical development. (Ex C-8, p.13.)
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16. The Boy Scout organization was "intended to supplement and enlarge modern
educational facilities in activities in the great and healthful out-of-doors where may be
better developed physical strength and endurance, self-reliance, and the powers of
initiative and resourcefulness, all for the purpose of establishing through the boys of
today the very highest type of American citizenship." (Ex. R-50, p.5.)
17. The program of Scouting is one "designed to achieve the objectives in character
development, citizenship training, and mental and physical development." (Ex R-50,
p.17.)
18. The purpose of Respondent Chester County Council is the promotion and supervision of Scouting within the limits of Chester County, which program includes the" building of true manly character, and instilling into the boys of Chester County the virtues of loyalty, self-reliance, alertness, physical fitness and kindred values." (Ex C-6.)
19. The specific membership requirements of Scouting are:
a. Tiger Cub - must be in first grade or be age seven, but not yet eight;
b. Cub Scout - must have completed first grade, but not have completed third grade,
or be age eight or nine;
c. Webelos Scout - must have completed third grade or be age ten, but not yet
completed the fifth grade or reached age eleven and a half, whichever is later;
d. Boy Scout - must have completed fifth grade or be age eleven; or have earned the
Arrow of Light Award, but not have reached age eighteen;
e. Varsity Scout - must be at least age fourteen and not yet eighteen. (Ex R-49, p.6.)
20. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is "to promote through organization and
cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and
others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance,
and kindred values using the methods which are now in common use by Boy Scouts."
(Ex R-50.)
21. The policy of the Boy Scouts of America on the issue of religious instruction is that it is the Scout's parent or other organization with which the member is connected that is
responsible for giving attention to religious life. (Ex R-50.)