Examining The "Perversion Files"

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 8:22am

Records detailing decades of abuse by Boy Scout leaders opened to the public.

After a long and very heated court-battle thousands of files from the Boy Scouts of America were made public on Thursday.

The documents outline decades of abuse by Scout leaders.

The documents, known as the "perversion files", have been hidden from the public for decades, as have many of the horrific crimes outlined in the nearly 15,000 pages.

The Boy Scouts of America fought to keep the files private, arguing a confidential list encourages more whistle blowers to come forward and protects the victims.

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled the records should be released after an assistant Scout Master in the state was convicted of abuse.

"You do not get to keep secrets about hidden dangers to children, period, end of conversation, that's what they did it was wrong and that's why a jury was infuriated," said victim attorney Kelly Clark.

Attorneys who have reviewed the documents say they show a pattern of molestation often carried out by single men in their 30s and 40s who spent a lot of one-on-one time with potential victims.

Many of the scout leaders were considered some of the best in their regions.

"In the past we didn't do the job we should have and we're sorry for that, profoundly sorry," BSA President Wayne Perry said.

Boy Scout officials acknowledge there have been problems but are quick to point out the times and focus on safety have changed dramatically.

"What we try to remind people is where we are today, where we've been for a long time in our commitment to youth protection, how we've been leaders in youth protection around the world," Perry said.

The files released Thursday were only those used as evidence in the Oregon case and deal with cases from 1965 through 1985.

Lawyers are pushing for the Boy Scouts to release all of their documents and plan to use a case currently underway in Texas to make more of the information public.

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