Boy Scout Child Molester Abuses May Have Been Covered Up: Report
Recently revealed files suggest that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) may have failed to take critical steps against potential child molesters and abusers in recent years, potentially opening the organization to lawsuits.
A recent investigative story by the Los Angeles Times, which has turned up 1,600 pages of what BSA officials call its “perversion files,” paints a picture of an organization that may have been helping to cover up incidents of child sex abuse over a 20-year period between 1970 and 1991.
The files reportedly show numerous incidents where Boy Scout employees or volunteers were caught molesting young boys and then were either allowed to resign gracefully or shuffled to other positions and other troops, instead of being reported to the police.
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“Perversion Files” Meant to Be Blacklist
The so-called “Perversion Files” are an internal library of documents that were reportedly used by Boy Scouts of America to create a blacklist of who to hire and who to avoid. However, the files suggest that in many cases when molesters were caught, police may not have been told and neither were parents of the children involved. The files appear to involve about 400 cases of potential abuse where where police were not informed, according to the L.A. Times.
Incidents detailed in the files include stories of men who were kicked out for molesting children, were not reported to police, and then slipped back in to the Boy Scouts where they may have abused more victims. In one case, Boy Scouts of American officials reportedly did not tell the parents of a child he had been abused and instead sent him to be counseled by a priest, who was later accused of molesting children himself.
The incidents may open the Boy Scouts of America up to a number of lawsuits on behalf of children who were molested, similar to what has been seen with the Catholic church sex abuse cases.
Boy Scout Leader Publishes “Open Letter” to Parents
On September 17, Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock posted an open letter to parents in an attempt to reassure them in the wake of the Boy Scout child molestation controversy.
“While we continuously evaluate and strengthen our Youth Protection programs, we recognize that abuse can happen anywhere, even in Scouting,” the letter states. “You may have heard recent news surrounding the release of certain Ineligible Volunteer Files. BSA Ineligible Volunteer Files, still in use today, help keep people deemed to be unfit leaders out of Scouting. Still, we believe constant vigilance is the best protection.”
The letter lists a number of ways Boy Scouts of America attempts to protect youth, highlighting safeguards that include screening volunteers, providing youth training seminars, requiring two adults be present at all times and providing handbooks to parents detailing how to handle incidents of abuse.
However, the letter only states that anyone caught abusing children will be banned from scouting. It makes no promises to call police or even tell the children’s parents they were the victims of abuse.
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