More than 125 hidden cases of child abuse stretching from 1970 to 1991 have been revealed by the Boy Scouts of America, and hundreds of other case files will be made available to the general public due to an Oregon Supreme Court ruling.
A review of related documents by the Los Angeles Times showed that in many cases, the abusers had been allowed to stay in the organization even after the sexual misconduct allegations were made. The publication reports that although the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) kept a blacklist of sorts dubbed the "perversion files," it failed to be a strong enough defense against child predators.
In 50 cases in which suspected child abusers were expelled from the Boys Scouts, those same suspects managed to later rejoin the organization, only to be accused again of abusing children.
One explicitly notorious case involved a scoutmaster who was not named, who first sexually assaulted a 14-year old boy in Indiana in 1970. He admitted to having sexually assaulted more than 100 boys between 1971 and 1988, and was eventually sentenced to a century in prison.
"The Boy Scouts of America believes even a single instance of abuse is unacceptable, and we regret there have been times when the BSA's best efforts to protect children were insufficient," the BSA said of the abuse cases. "For that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims … We are committed to the ongoing enhancement of our program, in line with evolving best practices for protecting youth."
The files that the LA Times reviewed include accounts of outright confessions from child molesters of their acts, to many unproven allegations that have swarmed the organization. The purpose of the BSA files is to shed light on the problems of abuse and stop the hundreds of men who have been suspected of abusing children from returning to the organization.
The files will be made public as a result of an Oregon Supreme Court decision that decided that the files should not be sealed after they were presented as evidence in a 2010 court case. The LA Times reports that the court made the decision after a petition by several media organizations. Reportedly, only a select few members of the Boy Scouts currently have access to the files that are kept in 15 locked cabinets at the BSA's headquarters in Irving, Texas.
Most recently, the BSA concluded a two-year-long examination into its policy of excluding gay members from leadership roles, and decided that its current stance "remains in the best interest of Scouting."
In response, a number of Eagle Scout members have returned their medals which they have worked on for years as a protest against what they see as a discriminatory policy, although many others have offered their support to the BSA for preserving its traditional policies.