By KIRK JOHNSON
Published: October 18, 2012
PORTLAND, Ore. — Details of decades of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America, and what child welfare experts say was a corrosive culture of secrecy that compounded the damage, were cast into full public view for the first time on Thursday with the release of thousands of pages of documents describing abuse accusations across the country.
“The secrets are out,” said Kelly Clark, a lawyer whose firm obtained the files as evidence in an $18.5 million civil judgment against the Scouts in 2010, then prevailed all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court in seeking to have them made public. Mr. Clark said in a news conference that the database would be sortable by state, year and name.
Officials with the Boy Scouts fought in the courts for years to prevent the release of the documents — more than 15,000 pages detailing accusations of sexual abuse against 1,247 scout leaders between 1965 and 1985, with thousands of victims involved, perhaps many thousands — contending that fear of breached confidentiality could inhibit victims from reporting other instances of abuse.
But even as the court fight proceeded, scouting officials were also restructuring the organization’s system of reporting abuse and promised to look back through other old files not released publicly. If evidence is found of past criminal wrongdoing by scout leaders, they say, it will be presented to law enforcement agencies. Thursday’s release followed several stories in The Los Angeles Times involving a separate cache of files that also revealed failures to protect scouts.
“We definitely fell short; for that we just have to apologize to the victims and the parents and say that we’re profoundly sorry,” Wayne Perry, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, said this week in a telephone interview. “We are sorry for any kid who suffered.”
Child protection experts say that the efforts in recent years by the Boy Scouts to better track, report and train youth leaders, and its humility in admitting failure, are all laudable steps, but that much more is needed by an organization that built its name and reputation on trust.
“It steps in the right direction,” said Christopher Anderson, the executive director of Male Survivor, a nonprofit organization for victims of sexual abuse. “The next step is that the Boy Scouts should provide support and help for all those victims and survivors who have been harmed.”
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Posted by Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg at 10/18/2012
כמעט אזוי שלעכט ווי סאקמער - Almost As Bad As Satmar
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg