Released Files Detail Alleged Abuse in Boy Scouts

More than 14,000 pages of files contain memos and victims' letters.

ByABC News
October 18, 2012, 1:06 AM

Oct. 18, 2012 — -- More than 14,000 pages revealing the alleged abuse reported within the Boy Scouts of America were finally released to the public today as the organization apologized for failing to protect children and punish the adults who had preyed on them.

"They didn't call law [enforcement]," said Kelly Clark, a Portland, Ore., attorney who won a lawsuit against the organization in 2010. "They didn't tell parents that 'We have this problem.'"

The documents were shown to jurors in the 2010 court proceedings and the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that they could be shown to the public after years of reported legal battles.

The files contain allegations of abuse of more than 1,000 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts across the U.S.

The so-called "perversion files" were reportedly kept at Boy Scouts headquarters in Texas and contain memos between scouting officials and letters from victims. They span 20 years -- from 1965 to 1985 -- and include the names of more than 1,200 alleged pedophiles.

In a third of the cases, the Boy Scouts of America said the cases were never reported to police. Because the statute of limitations has lapsed for most of the cases, they cannot be prosecuted.

"Basically, the Boy Scouts turned their eyes away, told the molesters to go away and just hope this doesn't happen again," said Patrick Boyle, author of "Scouts Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution" and a researcher of scout abuse for more than 20 years. "Of course, it kept happening again."

Many of the accounts are chilling. In one instance, an assistant scoutmaster in Rhode Island was accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy.

"He was confronted with the facts and admitted his role in the act," the documents say. "He [was told] he would no longer be allowed to serve in any adult capacity ... and to stay away from Scout X to avoid any further possible trouble."

There is no mention in the file of the police being contacted.

In another memo, a scouting executive recommends that the organization drop a case against a suspected abuser.

"If it don't stink, don't stir it," the executive says.

"We did not do the job that we should have," said Wayne Perry, president of the Boy Scouts of America. "And for that, and for the people hurt ... we are profoundly sorry."

In a further statement, Perry said: "Today, scouting is a leader among youth serving organizations in preventing child abuse. The [Boy Scouts of America] requires background checks, comprehensive training programs for volunteers, staff, youth and parents and mandates reporting of even suspected abuse"

Matt Stewart, who sued the Boy Scouts of America and settled out of court in 2005 after he was sexually abused as a child by his troop leader, said victims' voices were being heard.

"Today is a victory for all the victims who suffer in silence," Stewart said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.