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Lawsuit claims Boy Scouts coverup of sex abuse

Saturday, March 20, 2010; A16

OREGON

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

Judge rejects Sept. 11 workers settlement

A federal judge in New York rejected Friday a multimillion-dollar legal settlement for Ground Zero workers, saying that the deal did not contain enough money for the police officers, firefighters and other laborers.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein also said he was concerned that too much of the deal would be eaten up by legal fees and that the first-responders would be pressured into signing on to the settlement before they knew how much they stood to receive.

About 10,000 first-responders say they suffered health problems after inhaling the ash and dust left by the collapse of the World Trade Center.

The settlement proposal would have given the workers $575 million to $657 million, but each person's amount was based on a complicated point system that would give some a few thousand dollars while others might qualify for $1 million or more.

It wasn't clear whether the judge's actions would kill the settlement.

-- Associated Press

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