The Boy Scouts are defending a San Diego scout master who led his pack on a hike along Black’s Beach, the city’s only remaining nude beach.
While hiking at Torrey Pines State Beach on January 24, members of Cub Scout Troop 766 entered a section of Black’s Beach where they encountered people enjoying nature au naturel. The area is popular among nudists and the California Department of Parks and Recreation does not enforce clothing regulations in the area.
The story garnered national media attention after one of the parents on the trip, Diane Lekven, filed a complaint with the scouts and told local television station that the scout master, Desmond Wheatley, knew he was taking them through an area where people were likely to be nude.
“He said ‘This is a naturalist beach, and my family and I go through here all the time. It’s not a big deal.’ And I got really angry,” she said of her exchange with the trip leader. “I was nauseated because I’ve never seen just a bunch of nude people walking around holding hands, strange people that I don’t know.”
However, the local scouting chapter released a statement supporting the hike and Wheatley’s actions:
During a planned hiking trip at Torrey Pines State Beach, a local Cub Scout Pack encountered some individuals who were inappropriately dressed. This outing, involving both parents and adult volunteer leaders, was quickly rerouted to protect the youth. Following the trip, both San Diego-Imperial Council and Pack leadership met with parents to discuss the events and determine if further action was needed. Together we concluded that proper protocol had been observed and appropriate steps were taken in this matter.
And the other parents on the trip released a statement refuting Lekven’s account of events, according to the Union Tribune:
We have had – and continue to have – the highest regard for Mr. Wheatley’s integrity, leadership and his impeccable character.
We believe that the group’s response to the completely unexpected situation that arose was timely, responsible and prudent, and that it followed relevant BSA protocols.
We wish to make it clear that none of us share Ms. Lekven’s or her husband’s unique interpretation or recollection of that day’s events.
We have shared our views with the BSA and wish to acknowledge its swift and thorough review of this issue.