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Lawsuit claims Boy Scouts coverup of sex abuse

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

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Boy Scouts coverup of sex abuse alleged

The Boy Scouts of America has long kept an extensive archive of secret documents that chronicle the sexual abuse of young boys by Scout leaders over the years.

The "perversion files," a nickname the Boy Scouts are said to have used for the documents, have rarely been seen by the public, but that could change in the coming weeks in a Portland, Ore., courtroom.

The attorney for a man who was allegedly molested in the 1980s by a Scout leader has obtained about 1,000 Boy Scouts sex files and is expected to release some of them at a trial that began Wednesday. The lawyer says the files show the organization has covered up abuse for decades.

On Friday, testimony from a Mormon bishop responsible for a Scout troop of church members suggested that the Scouts never provided training about spotting abuse or preventing it.

The trial is significant because the files could offer a rare window into how the organization has responded to sex abuse by Scout leaders. The only other time the documents are thought to have been presented at a trial was in the 1980s in Virginia.

Charles Smith, attorney for the Boy Scouts, said in his opening statement that the files helped national scouting leaders weed out sex offenders, especially repeat offenders who may have changed names or moved in order to join another local scouting organization.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the organization over sex abuse allegations, but judges for the most part have either denied requests for the files or the lawsuits have been settled before they went to trial.

-- Associated Press

NEW YORK


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