Newly Released Files Detail Alleged Abuse In Boy Scouts
By Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Newly released documents that reveal thousands of alleged abuse cases with in the Boy Scouts of America organization include some incidents in Tennessee.
More than 20,000 confidential documents released Thursday identify more than 1,000 leaders and volunteers banned from the group between 1965-1985 after being accused of sexual or inappropriate conduct with boys.
Oregon lawyers, who fought to make the files public, argued the organization covered up disturbing allegations for years.
"You do not get to keep secrets about hidden dangers to children. Period. End of conversation," said Kelly Clark, the attorney representing several abused scouts.
The so-called "ineligible volunteer files" identify a total of 50 cases in Tennessee in Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Montgomery, Cheatham, Putnam and Giles Counties. One file details an incident in Murfreesboro where a scout leader allegedly fondled and assaulted a boy scout in two different troops.
Since at least 1919, the Boy Scouts have maintained the internal files to keep suspected pedophiles from re-entering the organization. But in a number of cases, the files show, the organization failed to take proper steps in suspected cases of abuse.
Officials with The Boy Scouts of America have apologized and said new reports of abuse are no longer hidden by the organization, but handed over to police.
"To the extent that we fell short of protecting youth, and we did fall short in some instances, we are profoundly sorry," said Boy Scouts National President Wayne Perry.
Now, Perry and others are anxious to put a dark chapter in the organization's history behind them.
"When you make mistakes, you admit those mistakes, and more importantly, you learn from those mistakes," Perry said.
Perry said the organization is continuing to enhance its policies, and is now a leader in preventing child abuse. The Boy Scouts use computer background checks on all volunteers, encourage everyone to report concerns, and now require two adults present at all scouting activities so no youth would ever be alone with a scout leader.