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Released Boy Scout "Perversion Files" Detail Accusations Of Years Of Prolific Sexual Abuse

Michael Juliani |
October 18, 2012 | 7:19 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

The Boy Scouts have also received criticism for their policies on homosexuality.  (Flickr Creative Commons)
The Boy Scouts have also received criticism for their policies on homosexuality. (Flickr Creative Commons)

The law firm that represented a former Boy Scout who was sexually abused released more than 1,200 files on Thursday detailing accusations of the organization's long and prolific history of molestation.

The documents, dubbed the "Perversion Files," were released after the law firm was granted permission to make them public earlier this year, following a court order that only made them available to the attorneys in the former Boy Scout's case, according to Time.

The former Scout won $18.5 million, to be paid by the organization.

Boy Scout officials fought for years to prevent the publication of the Perversion Files, which consists of more than 15,000 pages of accusations against 1,247 Scout leaders between 1965 and 1985, with perhaps many thousands of victims involved, The New York Times said

Attorney Kelly Clark, the lead counsel in the aforementioned suit, said that the statute of limitations has passed on most of the possible cases in the files, according to Time.

"Most of the people in these files will never see legal justice," Clark said.

(MORE: Boy Scouts Of America's Gay Exclusion Policy Appalling)

While the files supposedly served to help the organization learn from its own mistakes in terms of what to look for when appointing leaders, Clark accused the organization of trying to keep secrets.

"To the extent that the file system was intended to keep the bad guys out it often worked as it should," he told Time.  "But there's a problem: if you keep this system for decades and decades and the number of abuse cases are the same or worse, you'd have to say 'Our program is attracting pedophiles; how can we make this better?'"

Wayne Perry, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, told The New York Times in a phone interview that they take responsibility for the alleged abuse.

"We definitely fell short; for that we just have to apologize to the victims and the parents and say that we're profoundly sorry," he said.  "We are sorry for any kid who suffered."

(MORE: Boy Scouts Maintain Honorable Stance In Wake Of Allegations)

Child protection experts have also said that the Boy Scouts' recent efforts to find non-predatory youth leaders, and their willingness to take blame, are laudable.

"It steps in the right direction," said Christopher Anderson, the executive director of Male Survivor, a nonprofit organization for sexual abuse victims, according to The New York Times.  "The next step is that the Boy Scouts should provide support and help for all those victims and survivors who have been harmed."

The Times discussed the organization's baffled attempts over the years to rectify the influx of sexual abuse allegations, including attempts to give accused scout masters second chances.

"He recognizes that he has had a problem," one 1972 memo read, "and he is personally taking steps to resolve this situation."

Perry, the current Scout president, said that he knows that 1972 was a different time, "when people thought--the medical community thought--there was a potential for rehabilitation."

Clark, the defense lawyer, admitted that some of the men accused in the file could be innocent--but that's more the nature of probability than any direct exoneration.


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