Thursday, July 10, 2014





New files may detail sex abuse in Scouts


September 08. 2013 10:29PM
STEVE KARNOWSKI Associated Press

Story Tools
PrintPrint | E-MailEMail | SaveSave | Hear Generate QR Code QR
Send to Kindle


MINNEAPOLIS — Confidential files turned over for a lawsuit set to go to trial in Minnesota may shed new light on the problem of sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts of America.


The documents were produced in litigation brought against the Boy Scouts and a former scoutmaster, Peter Stibal II, who is serving 21 years in prison for molesting four Scouts. Attorneys for one former Scout won a court order for the nationwide internal files, commonly known as “ineligible volunteer” or “perversion files.” They cover the years 1999-2008, much more recent than similar files forced into the open in an Oregon case last year.


“We are intending to use those to show they have had a longstanding knowledge of the scope of a serious problem like Stibal,” said Jeffrey Anderson, the lead attorney for the molested Scout. “They kept files not known to the troops and members of the public and had a body of knowledge that was not made public.”


Anderson, who built a national reputation for frequent lawsuits in clergy abuse cases, declined to say what the new documents might show ahead of the trial that begins Monday in St. Paul. He said he expects attorneys for the Scouts to try to block the introduction and release of the files. He wouldn’t say how many former leaders the files cover. But the release of more than 1,200 files in the Oregon case suggests the number could be large.


An attorney for the Scouts did not return messages seeking comment. The Scouts’ public relations director, Deron Smith, said in a prepared statement that protecting Scouts is “of paramount importance” to the organization, which claims over 2.6 million young people and over 1 million adult leaders as members in its various branches.


“The BSA requires background checks, comprehensive training programs for volunteers, staff, youth and parents and mandates reporting of even suspected abuse,” Smith said in the statement.


He didn’t say whether the Scouts would try to block release of the files, but said the organization believes keeping them private would make people more likely to report abuse.


In the Oregon case, Boy Scout files made public from the years 1965-1985 revealed a decades-long cover-up, showing that men suspected of abuse were often excluded from leadership positions but rarely turned over to law enforcement. The files also contained accounts of alleged pedophiles allowed to stay in Scouting under pressure from community leaders and local Scouting officials.


Patrick Boyle, who as a journalist was among the first to expose efforts by the Scouts to hide the extent of abuse by their leaders, said the files could show how the Boy Scouts evolved in their response to abuse allegations over the years — or didn’t.


“What’s potentially powerful about these files is they can give us some idea of how big the problem has been in recent years, and might even give us an idea of whether the abuse prevention efforts by the Scouts have had any impact,” said Boyle, who now serves as communications director for the nonprofit Forum for Youth Investment in Washington.


When Ramsey County District Judge Elena Ostby ordered the Scouts in January to give up the files, she also ordered the removal of information that could identify people named in the files.


Even without names, Marci Hamilton, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York and a longtime advocate for child sex abuse victims, said any release of new files might eventually reveal new perpetrators and new institutions such as troops, churches and schools where abuse occurred, emboldening other victims to seek justice.




Comments
comments powered by Disqus Commenting Guidelines
Poll
Mortgage Minute


Search for New & Used Cars

Make 
Model
 
Used New All
 

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just the home you want!

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just what you need!

Search Pet Classifieds
Dogs Cats Other Animals



Social Media/RSS
Times Leader on Twitter
Times Leader on Youtube
Times Leader on Google+
The Times Leader on Tumblr
The Times Leader on Pinterest
Times Leader RSS Feeds