Where is Michael Johnson Now? Ex-Boy Scouts Explained

By Kieran Burt
Published: September 7, 2023 (Last updated: September 9, 2023)
Where is Michael Johnson Now - Ex-Boy Scouts Explained

Where is Michael Johnson now? We explain who the influential figure in the Boy Scouts is and what he did for them. Some readers may find the details discussed in this article distressing. 

Scout’s Honor: The Secret Files of the Boy Scouts of America is a Netflix documentary that sheds light on the many shocking abuse cases found in the Boy Scouts of America, an organization known for constantly dealing with children. It highlights the scale of this abuse that hait’s affected thousands of victims and has gone on for decades.

One man who has been trying to tackle the issue was Michael Johnson. He formally served as the Boy Scouts Youth Protection Director, but the organization he was trying to reform blocked him at many turns.

He was eventually let go from the Scouts and became a whistleblower, speaking out in the documentary.

Who is Michael Johnson from Boy Scouts?

Michael Johnson grew up in Texas, United States of America, where he became fascinated with law. He joined the Plano City Police Department as soon as possible, rising through the ranks. He became a detective on a SWAT team in 1986, investigating crimes committed against children. In the documentary, he said, “For 16 years, I did nothing but investigate child sexual abuse.”

During this time, he interviewed several children, interrogated perpetrators, talked to parents, went to many crime scenes, and worked on cases both federally and nationally. Michael has also had the honor of working with two different administrations.

He racked up a lot of experience in the role, so Michael was the ideal candidate when the Boy Scouts were looking for a Director for their Youth Protection program in 2010.

The Boy Scouts at that time knew they had an abuse issue, which was scattered across the country. The Scout Leaders and Masters abused their power to exploit young boys. Michael said that in his role, he wanted to find ways to address the issue without undermining the brand of the Boy Scouts, but he was blocked at every turn.

He wanted to implement anonymous hotlines and background checks, but he wasn’t allowed to do this.

Michael claims in the documentary, “I went in there to help the organization to do a better job of keeping kids safe. I would say I had some success, even going up against the crap I had to deal with, but ultimately I failed.”

What did Michael Johnson do for Boy Scouts?

Throughout his time at the Boy Scouts, Michael Johnson was the Boy Scouts Youth Protection Director, a role he took up in 2010. This role saw him try to develop and implement policies to keep the children in the Boy Scouts safe.

He was continually frustrated by the higher-ups in this role, often butting heads with general counsel Steve McGowan. The Scouts even tried to hide the scale of the abuse happening from him.

But Michael Johnson continued to try and fight for what he believed in and make the Boy Scouts a safer organization.

Michael was let go from his role in December 2020, a few months after the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy.

He was asked to sign a non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreement to keep quiet about the abuse he’d seen in exchange for a hefty severance, but Michael declined. He said in the documentary, “To me being silent knowing what I know is being complicit.”

Where is Michael Johnson Now?

It’s unclear what Michael Johnson is doing now, but he still lives in his home state of Texas, where he continues to be a public speaker and advocate for abuse victims. He also continues to push for more action against the Boy Scouts of America, even urging Congress to get involved. In the documentary, he claims, “I am here to tell you the [Boy Scouts of America] is still not safe for boys and girls.”

He explains, “It is safer, but it is not safe for kids.”

Johnson has retired from working life, but he hopes his role in the documentary will shock people into action against the Boy Scouts and empower more people to come forward. In the film, he tearfully reveals that his friend is a survivor of abuse and wants to help him.

“These survivors have been very kind. These men have validated what I do. They’re the courageous ones. They’re the ones that are heroic.”

As for the Boy Scouts of America, they ended its bankruptcy in April 2023. They’re expected to pay out $2.4 billion to over 82,000 sexual abuse victims.

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