Ronald Reagan's son Michael has revealed he was molested at the age of eight by a camp counselor while in the Boy Scouts.
Michael Reagan revealed his experience in a piece he wrote for RecordOnline.com about the Boy Scout's impending decision whether to allow gay leaders and gay Scouts to join the organization. He says it is not homosexuality that should be an issue, but pedophilia.
Reagan writes that "despite what some of my conservative friends think, allowing gays in the Boy Scouts will not be an open invitation to pedophiles to begin preying on children.
"Being gay doesn't mean you are a pedophile. Homosexuality and pedophilia are two completely different issues, and studies show that a child is no more at risk of being molested by a gay or bisexual man than a heterosexual one.
"As someone who was sexually molested by a camp counselor when I was 8, I know more than I care to about pedophilia and the long-lasting harm it does to children. You can read about my experience and what I learned from it in "Twice Adopted," my 2004 book."
Read more US crime news here
Calling pedophilia "the most heinous crime against children," Reagan goes on to say that one of the biggest problems is that many famous institutions "have a shameful record of coddling the child molesters who work for them."
He says that the Boy Scouts of America's files reveal that between 1970 and 1991 hundreds of alleged sexual abuses were kept under wraps and in many cases the alleged molesters were allowed to continue working with the organization.
"In one case, the Times reported last fall, a camp director who heard about repeated abuse by a staff member told police he didn't report them because "his bosses wanted to protect the reputation of the Scouts and the accused staff member." The men who run the Boy Scouts have something in common with the men who run the Catholic Church and Penn State. When it comes to dealing with the sexual abuse of children, they've always chosen to protect their own institutions instead of protecting children," writes Reagan.
"Pedophilia can be prevented and guarded against, but it's impossible to eliminate. But from now on, when it is discovered, the perpetrators — who on average molest about 120 victims during their "career" — should be indicted and punished as criminals.
"This should be the case no matter who they are, whether they're straight or gay, or what institution they work for. Our innocent children deserve no less."