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Boy Scouts Release 20 Years of 'Perversion' Files - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Boy Scouts Release 20 Years of 'Perversion' Files

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The Boy Scouts of America's "perversion files," detailing sex abuse allegations against scout leaders, have been secret for nearly a century. But on Thursday, thanks to a court order, 20 years' worth of the files were made public.

The release names more than 1,200 BSA volunteers accused of abuse between 1965 and 1985.

New York state residents account for 111 names in the files — the second most in the country, behind California.

Twenty-three men on the list are, or were, from New York City.

The Oregon Supreme Court ordered the BSA to release the files by this month after a 2010 verdict on behalf of  Kerry Lewis, who was abused as a boy by a scoutmaster. They do not include details of the alleged crimes or the victims' names.

In handing down its decision, the court said the "ineligible volunteer files," as they're officially known, show that the organization knew it had a sex abuse problem and actively tried to hide it.

A pair of investigations by the Los Angeles Times revealed that in hundreds of cases, allegations of child molestation were never reported to police, and that more than 125 men named in the files were able to volunteer for other Boy Scout troops — and continue to prey on kids.

Lewis' scoutmaster was one of the men who had been expelled from one scouting troop, only to turn up in again another troop where he was able to  molest Lewis, attorney Kelly Clark said at a press conference Thursday.

The "perversion files" were the centerpiece of Lewis' case, in which he was awarded $1.4 million in damages.

Attorney Paul Mones stressed that many of the accusations against the men in the files were never substantiated in court. "And that's OK," he said, adding that they serve as a warning to youth organizations about the way pedophiles prey on kids.

"The [Jerry] Sandusky case is an ideal example," he said. "The way he operated is the same way many of these scout leaders operated."

In most states, Clark explained, the statute of limitations for criminal charges against the men on the list has expired, but most states don't have such limitations in place for civil suits.

He said his firm hasn't tracked any of the men in the files to know if they were involved in other youth organizations or accused in other abuse cases.

Ahead of Thursday's release, Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith said the organization would go through its files and alert authorities to any unreported offenders.

In a statement to CNN on Wednesday night, BSA president Wayne Perry admitted there were times when his organization's response to sex abuse accusations "were plainly insufficient, inappropriate or wrong."

Thursday's release follows the online publication of the names of more than 1,900 scouting volunteers accused of abuse between 1971 and 1991.

"If someone were to ask me if I'd enroll my child in the Boy Scouts, I'd say that I couldn't in good conscience recommend it. I can't say it's a safe organization," said Seattle attorney Tim Kosnoff, who put the files on his website last week. He has represented more than 100 clients in cases against the BSA.

The complete "perversion files" date all the way back to 1919 and contain more than 20,000 names.

Clark said Thursday that his firm is in the discovery phase of a case against a scoutmaster in San Antonio that could lead to the release of the files from 1985 to 2011.

They have the files from 1950 to 1965, but haven't been authorized to release them yet.

THE 10 STATES WITH MOST BSA LEADERS IN NEW 'PERVERSION FILES' RELEASE ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE:

1. California — 139
2. New York — 111
3. Pennsylvania — 81
4. Texas — 75
5. Florida — 72
6. Illinois — 69
7. Ohio — 57
8. Michigan — 55
9. Massachusetts — 45
10. Missouri — 45

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