Nearly 15,000 pages from files the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) kept between 1965 and 1985 on alleged child sexual abuse by Scout leaders were released October 18 by order of the Oregon Supreme Court. The pages, dubbed the “perversion files” by the media, include letters, memos, news clippings and other documents related to both alleged and confessed sexual abuse during the 20-year time period. The files were released by attorneys in Oregon who won an $18.25-million lawsuit against the BSA in 2010, and who had been working to have the records made public.
The BSA, which tried to block release of the pages, has maintained an “ineligible to volunteer” archive during much of its century-long history as part of its effort to protect boys in its program from predatory abusers, but the released files exposed how often such safeguards failed.
At a news conference Portland attorney Kelly Clark, who won the 2010 lawsuit on behalf of a plaintiff who was molested by a Scout leader in the 1980s, railed against the organization for its attempts to keep the files secret. “You do not keep secrets hidden about dangers to children,” he told reporters. Fellow attorney Paul Mones, who worked with Clark on the case, said that the files represent “the pain and the anguish of thousands of untold Scouts. While there are 1,247 files, we know that each [accused] Scout leader molested on the average more than one Scout.”
The Associated Press reported that the the files were key to the 2010 case, “and the Oregon Supreme Court ruled the files should be made public. After months of objections and redactions, the Scouts and Clark released them.”
In response to the release of the files, the BSA's national president, Wayne Perry, issued a statement conceding that there had been “instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children.” Perry said that “in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong. Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families.”
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo: AP Images