Live Google+ hangout: Boy Scout files document child abuse
Los Angeles Times' reporters Jason Felch and Kim Christensen reviewed more than 1,200 files, dating from 1970 to 1991, that make up part of a confidential Boy Scouts blacklist known as the "perversion files." Please join them at 2:30 p.m. for a live Google+ hangout discussion.
Their findings were published Sunday in The Times. Among them:
- More than 125 cases across the country involve men who allegedly continued to molest Scouts after the organization was first presented with detailed allegations of abusive behavior.
- Predators slipped back into the program by falsifying personal information or skirting the registration process.
- Officials in some cases documented abuse but merely suspended the accused leader or allowed him to continue working with boys while on "probation."
The Scouts say the files have been kept since 1919 to prevent hundreds of men who had been expelled for alleged sexual abuse from returning to the ranks. Boy Scout officials have fought hard in court to keep the records from public view, saying confidentiality was needed to protect victims, witnesses and anyone falsely accused.
The Oregon Supreme Court, in response to a petition by the Oregonian, the Associated Press, the New York Times and other media organizations, has ordered the release of 1,247 files from 1965 to 1984 that had been admitted as evidence, under seal, in a 2010 lawsuit that resulted in a nearly $20-million jury verdict against the Scouts.
The files analyzed by The Times for Sunday's report represent an overlapping, though broader and more recent, set of files, which were submitted in a California court case in 1992.
"Basically, there were no controls," said Bill Dworin, a retired Los Angeles police expert on child sexual abuse, who reviewed hundreds of the files as a witness for the Oregon man abused by his troop leader in the 1980s who successfully sued the Boy Scouts in 2010.
— Megan Garvey