Sex Abuse in the Boy Scouts - Consumer Justice Foundation

Sex Abuse in the Boy Scouts

Written by Faith Anderson on August 6, 2012
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Boy Scout Officials Fail to Prevent Child Abuse

In at least 50 cases, the Boy Scouts expelled suspected abusers, only to find that they had re-entered the organization and were again accused of sexual molestation. In other instances, officials failed to document reports of abuse at all, allowing offenders to remain in the program until additional allegations came to light. In just one example of the Boy Scout’s gross negligence, one scoutmaster was expelled in 1970 for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Indiana. After being convicted of the abuse, the man went on to join two Boy Scout troops in Illinois between 1971 and 1988. He later admitted to abusing more than 100 boys, was convicted of sexually assaulting a Scout in 1989, and was finally sentenced to 100 years in prison for his crimes. In 1991, a Scout leader convicted of abusing a boy in Minnesota was allowed to return to his old troop shortly after he was released from prison.

Boy Scouts Regret “Best Efforts” Weren’t Enough

In response to these devastating findings of abuse, the Scouts issued a statement, part of which said: “The Boy Scouts of America believes even a single instance of abuse is unacceptable, and we regret there have been times when the BSA’s best efforts to protect children were insufficient. For that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims…We are committed to the ongoing enhancement of our program, in line with evolving best practices for protecting youth.” If what has been revealed in this damaging report represents the Boy Scouts “best efforts,” young American children are probably better off staying away from the organization all together, a sentiment that has likely been expressed by parents of former and current Boy Scouts across the country.

Boy Scout “Perversion Files” Document Suspected Pedophiles

The “perversion files” naming suspected child molesters include admissions of guilt as well as unproven allegations of abuse, and are used to vet applicants for paid and volunteer positions. The documents are confidential and have only come to light in recent years because of lawsuits filed by former Scouts, accusing the organization of failing to identify abuse, turn in offenders to authorities, or exclude known pedophiles. Scouting officials say they have used the files to prevent hundreds of men who have been expelled for alleged abuse from returning to the organization. The Boy Scouts have fought in court to keep the perversion files out of the public eye, claiming confidentiality was needed for the protection of victims, witnesses and anyone falsely accused of molestation.

Confidential Boy Scout Documents to Be Made Public

Many of the Boy Scouts’ confidential files will soon be made public though, as a result of an Oregon Supreme Court decision made after the New York Times, the Associated Press, the Oregonian and other media outlets petitioned for the release of 1,247 files from 1965 to 1984, which had been admitted as sealed evidence in a 2010 lawsuit. The Times analyzed a set of files that were submitted in a 1992 court case in California. The contents of the files vary, but typically include biographical information on the accused, police reports, witness statements, news clippings, parent complaints, and correspondence between national headquarters and local Boy Scout officials.

Posted Under: Editorial
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