Cassie MacDuff

10:00 PM PDT on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cassie MacDuff

Announced changes to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Explorer program in the wake of two deputies charged with having sex with girls in the program seems to put most of the onus on the Explorers.

The kids will be required to keep log books of the time they spend with deputies, get parental permission before Explorer assignments and maintain at least a “C” average in school.

Any official functions that keep an Explorer out after 10 p.m. will require parental permission and authorization by a commander.

And ride-alongs (where the mischief took place) will be limited to no more than once every two months with the same deputy, to prevent close relationships from developing.

So what about the grown-ups? After all, it was adult male deputies who were accused.

Why aren’t deputies who supervise Explorers required to keep log books?

Why aren’t deputies cautioned against getting sexually involved with kids?

Why aren’t deputies psychologically profiled before they’re given access to kids?

I asked Lt. Todd Paterson, who oversees Volunteer Forces including the Explorer Scout program.

The deputies who advise the Explorer program, as well as its supervisors, did get retrained to underscore the program’s goals, guidelines and appropriate behavior, Paterson said.

There are rules against deputies fraternizing with the young Explorers, Paterson said, and before they are hired, deputies undergo psychological screening.

Deputy-advisers are taught to guide Explorers in a “positive, mentoring style,” he said.

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