Confidential files document child abusers in Boy Scouts

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 6:31 PM

IRVING — More than 1,000 reports on potential child molesters within the Boy Scouts of America are about to be revealed.

The Irving-based organization is now unlocking confidential papers for the first time after decades of keeping them secret.

Some of the top executives are speaking out ahead of the release of the files to say they are sorry, but are also committed to preventing sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts.

The museum at the national headquarters lays out the rich and storied history of Scouting. But Thursday's release of confidential files kept by BSA on suspected and actual child abusers within the organization will reveal a dark chapter not seen here.

"There's no question that there are times in the past — and these go back to 40-50 years old — where we did not do the job that we should have," said BSA president Wayne Perry. "For that, and for people hurt, we are profoundly sorry."

They're called "ineligible volunteer files," tracking accusations against volunteers and employees between 1965 and 1985.

The Oregon Supreme Court ordered some 1,200 files released after BSA lost a civil case there brought by an abused Scout. BSA initially fought against release of the files, but now is looking to the future.

"Those mistakes that are documented won't happen, and do not happen in the Boy Scouts of today," said BSA's protection director Mike Johnson.

Since 2008, all BSA employees and volunteers are subjected to a computerized criminal background check. The organization's child abuse prevention training program has been strengthened. And BSA now mandates that any suspected child abuse must be reported to police.

"I am convinced that this organization has a firm and everlasting deep commitment to youth protection," Perry said.

The files will be released online Thursday by the plaintiff's attorneys in the Oregon civil case, with the names of the abusers and the victims removed.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

 

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