L.A. Times to post files of alleged sex offenders investigated by Boy Scouts

October 18, 2012

The Los Angeles Times is set to make available online Thursday an exhaustive compilation of alleged sex offenders who have been investigated by the Boy Scouts of America over the past several decades. The files include reports listing the names of suspect employees and volunteers — some from the Washington region — whom the organization often failed to report to law enforcement authorities.

The newspaper said it would release at 2:30 p.m. Eastern about 1,200 files dating from 1965 to 1985 that were ordered public by the Oregon Supreme Court. The release marks the first opportunity for people to comb through a vast number of alleged sex-crime reports filed internally with the Boy Scouts. The names of alleged victims will be redacted.

Several news organizations that fought the Boy Scouts in court to get the files released will be able to post the files online after Oregon’s high court lifts an embargo that expires Thursday.

The Times has reported extensively for the past several months on Boy Scout sex abuse cases, featuring interviews with victims and alleged perpetrators, and has already released several reports from what the Boy Scouts dubbed the “Perversion Files.”

The paper based much of its reporting on confidential files and other records from 5,000 cases dating to the 1940s. No criminal charges were filed in many of the cases. The Times said many of the allegations of wrongdoing were never reported to police.

More on this story from The Associated Press:

The court-ordered release of the files has prompted the Boy Scouts to pledge that they will go back into the files and report any offenders who may have not been reported to the police when alleged abuse took place.

That could prompt a new round of criminal prosecutions for offenders who have so far escaped justice.

The Scouts have, until now, argued they did all they could to prevent sex abuse within their ranks by spending a century tracking pedophiles and using those records to keep known sex offenders out of their organization.

The Scouts began keeping the files shortly after their creation in 1910, when pedophilia was largely a crime dealt with privately. The organization argues that the files helped them track offenders and protect children. But some of the files released in 1991, detailing cases from 1971 to 1991, showed repeated instances of Scouts leaders failing to disclose sex abuse to authorities, even when they had a confession.

A lawsuit culminated in April 2010 with the jury ruling that the Boy Scouts had failed to protect the plaintiff from a pedophile assistant Scoutmaster in the 1980s, even though that man had previously admitted molesting Scouts. The jury awarded $20 million to the plaintiff.

Ian Shapira is a features writer on the local enterprise team and enjoys writing about people who have served in the military and intelligence communities. He joined the Post in 2000 and has covered education, criminal justice, technology, and art crime.
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