In the fall of 1977, shortly before Roman Polanski fled to France to escape the consequences of getting a 13-year-old girl drunk on champagne, high on quaaludes, and in a hot tub, where the middle-aged film director proceeded to have sex with her, his lawyer rose in a Los Angeles courtroom and pleaded for leniency.
"[Roman Polanski] stands before this court with a conviction of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor," the Los Angeles Times quoted Douglas Dalton as saying. "It's not even a criminal offense in about 13 of our states and many places in the world . . . It's a crime that has been committed by police officers."
Dalton was alluding to the revelation a year earlier that at least six LAPD officers had had sex with at least 16 teenaged females enrolled in the department's Boy Scout-sponsored Explorer mentoring program.
While Polanski had to flee the country to avoid punishment, Dalton was on to something: Several of the police officers in the LAPD case were allowed to remain in their jobs.
As the below map (with clickable markers) shows, and as this week's feature explores, at least 66 police departments and sheriff's offices have since the 1976 Hollywood case endured sex scandals involving police officers and teenaged Explorers. Of these, none were punished by the Boy Scouts or its subsidiary Learning for Life, which oversees the Explorer program.
In essence, the Boy Scouts--who instill in their members and participants the importance of going above and beyond the call of duty--have for decades allowed police departments with Explorer programs to police themselves. This week's feature story explores the consequences of this experiment in self-regulation.