Boy Scouts of America national headquarters in Irving, Texas (Jason Sickles/Yahoo!)
The public will get an unprecedented look inside the Boy Scouts of America next week when more than 14,500 pages of previously confidential documents concerning alleged child sexual abuse within the organization are released.
Against the Scouts' wishes, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the so-called perversion files to be disclosed four months ago. Since then, attorneys have been redacting the names and contact information for child abuse victims and those who reported the abuse, per the court's order.
The law firm of O'Donnell, Clark & Crew and attorney Paul Mones will put the files online after a press conference in Portland, Ore., on Thursday.
The confidential files are from 1965 to 1985 and represent reports of boys allegedly abused by more than 1,200 different scoutmasters and other adult volunteers.
They were introduced as evidence by the BSA in a 2010 court case involving an Oregon man who was abused as a boy by a scoutmaster. He was awarded nearly $20 million.
"The Supreme Court ruled that the documents should be disclosed after they were deemed central to the proof that Boy Scouts of America had known of a serious child sexual abuse problem for decades, and yet had actively concealed the problem from Scouts, their families, and the public," the child-advocate attorneys said in statement on Friday.
The BSA has kept "ineligible volunteer" files since 1919. Last month, the Scouts announced they are now double-checking 50 years of the secret member records to see if they missed anything. Some viewed it as a preemptive move ahead of the publicity to come from the upcoming records release.
"And while these pages will remind readers of what they have seen in cases involving the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, Penn State and others, the fact is that this is not just another youth organization," attorney Kelly Clark said in a written statement to Yahoo News. "This is the Boy Scouts of America: a congressionally chartered corporation whose honorary chairman has always historically been the President of the United States, an organization portrayed by Norman Rockwell as the embodiment of the American spirit, in some ways America's most trusted youth institution. And they covered up child abuse. That's what the public is going to see here, and that is the story."
- Politics & Government
- Crime & Justice
- Oregon Supreme Court
- child sexual abuse
- the Boy Scouts of America