Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Boy Scouts covered up hundreds of child sex abuse cases, files show

When volunteers and employees were suspected of sexually abusing children, Boy Scout officials often didn't tell police, files from 1970-91 reveal. In many cases they sought to hide the situation.

Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public.

A Los Angeles Times review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 has found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign — and helped many cover their tracks.

Volunteers and employees suspected of abuse were allowed to leave citing bogus reasons such as business demands, "chronic brain dysfunction" and duties at a Shakespeare festival.

The details are contained in the organization's confidential "perversion files," a blacklist of alleged molesters, that the Scouts have used internally since 1919. Scouts' lawyers around the country have been fighting in court to keep the files from public view.

As The Times reported in August, the blacklist often didn't work: Men expelled for alleged abuses slipped back into the program, only to be accused of molesting again. Now, a more extensive review has shown that Scouts sometimes abetted molesters by keeping allegations under wraps.

In the majority of cases, the Scouts learned of alleged abuse after it had been reported to authorities. But in more than 500 instances, the Scouts learned about it from boys, parents, staff members or anonymous tips.

In about 400 of those cases — 80% — there is no record of Scouting officials reporting the allegations to police. In more than 100 of the cases, officials actively sought to conceal the alleged abuse or allowed the suspects to hide it, The Times found.

In 1982, a Michigan Boy Scout camp director who learned of allegations of repeated abuse by a staff member told police he didn't promptly report them because his bosses wanted to protect the reputation of the Scouts and the accused staff member.

"He stated that he had been advised by his supervisors and legal counsel that he should neutralize the situation and keep it quiet," according to a police report in the file.

That same year, the director of a Boy Scout camp in Virginia wrote to the Scouts' top lawyer, asking for help dealing with a veteran employee suspected of a "lifelong pattern" of abuse that had not been reported to police.


"When a problem has surfaced, he has been asked to leave a position 'of his own free will' rather than risk further investigation," the director wrote. "The time has come for someone to make a stand and prevent further occurrences."

There is no indication the Scouts took the matter to law enforcement...Read the explosive investigation by Kim Christensen and Jason Felch in Los Angeles Times




Source: Los Angeles Times / Boy Scouts helped alleged molesters cover tracks, files show

Authors: Kim Christensen and Jason Felch

Photo: The Boy Scouts of America is the nation's largest youth organization with over 111,000 units and nearly 2,724,000 young members / Daily Mail

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