Confidential “perversion files” held by the Boy Scouts of America contain the names of 7,819 suspected pedophiles, a lawyer for abused former scouts has discovered – and the names of 12,254 of their victims.
“The alarming thing about this is not just the number but the fact is that the Boy Scouts of America has never actually released these names in any form that can be known to the public,” Jeff Anderson, a lawyer for ex-scouts who have been abused, told a press conference in New York.
Anderson is releasing 180 of those names – 130 men from New York and 50 from New Jersey. The list is incomplete, he says, but “we had to sound the alarm.” The Boy Scouts had been compiling these files since the 1940s, never sharing the names with authorities or the public, he said, denouncing the organization for what he called a “system of denial and coverups.”
“Those ‘perversion files’ that they’ve had reflect that they have removed thousands of offenders of childhood sexual abuse over the years and they’ve kept that in files secretly,” Anderson said. Even now, the sheer quantity of victims and alleged offenders has only become public with the testimony of a child abuse expert hired by the Boy Scouts. The BSA was ordered to release over 20,000 pages of records in 2012, but those files only covered the years 1965 to 1985.
“We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting,” the organization said in a statement on Tuesday. “At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement.”