At least 125 suspected child predators were allegedly allowed to continue their abuse of Boy Scouts even though the organization maintained a “blacklist” that was supposed to protect young Scouts from sexual offenders. According to the Los Angeles Times, which conducted a review of some of the Boy Scouts’ now infamous “perversion files,” the suspected child molesters were allowed to move from troop to troop despite allegations against them, thanks to clerical errors, computer glitches or the Scouts’ failure to check if an individual was named on the blacklist.
In at least 50 cases, alleged child abusers who had been kicked out of the Boy Scouts were able to gain admission to a troop elsewhere, where they allegedly molested children again. In others, officials documented abuse but merely suspended the accused leader or allowed him to continue working with boys while on “probation.” Sometimes, Boy Scout officials failed to document reports of abuse in the first place, letting predators stay in the organization until new allegations surfaced, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The 12,000 files reviewed by the Times date from 1970 to 1991. As we’ve reported previously, the Boy Scouts’ perversion files contain nearly 20,000 pages of evidence detailing alleged child sexual abuse committed by Scout masters, assistant scout masters, and others from 1965 for a period of about two decades. The Oregon Supreme Court ordered the files, which contain both admissions of guilt and unproven allegations, unsealed and released to the public in June. The files were used in an Oregon case against the Boy Scouts of America in which one man was awarded $20 million as a victim of sexual abuse during this time with the group as a child in the 1980s
After the Court rendered its decision in June, Boy Scout Chief Executive Robert Mazzuca posted a video on the organization’s website in which he maintained the perversion files were kept secret because “we believe that victims deserve protection and that confidentiality encourages prompt reporting of questionable behavior. It removes the fear of retribution and assures the victims and their families that they receive the privacy that they deserve.”
According to the Times, many of the files contain unsettling, first-hand accounts of abuse by young victims:
“I was crying, and I reached around and hit Max in the face, and said I was going to quit the troop and tell my daddy,” a 10-year-old Scout wrote in 1972, describing his alleged rape by a Georgia troop leader, Samuel Max Dubois Jr. “Then we heard the others coming back, and Max said put your pants back on.”
While Dubois was not tried for that offense, he was later convicted of child sexual abuse in North Carolina and spent 14 years in prison, the Times said.
As we reported previously, the release of these documents could lead to a flurry of new accusations against the Boy Scouts. Critics have long alleged the Scouts maintained a veil of secrecy regarding accusations of sexual abuse among its leaders. Rather than reporting accusations to law enforcement, the Scouts had a policy to handle such issues internally. This often allowed Scout masters to serve in other areas despite being alleged to have committed sexual crimes elsewhere.
According to the Times, the Boy Scouts have acknowledged that it continues to use the perversion files to track allegations of child abuse. However, it also says it has enacted new protections, including a requirement that all allegations of abuse be reported to law enforcement authorities.