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Victims of Sexual Abuse by The Boy Scouts of America

The Oregon Supreme Court ordered the Boy Scouts of America to release over 15,000 pages detailing accusations of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct by boy scout leaders against boy scouts from 1959 to 1985. The documents, called the "Ineligible Volunteer Files" or the so-called "Perversion Files", listed allegations against over 1,200 scout leaders and volunteers. The failure to report sexual abuse and sexual misconduct is another disturbing example of officials trying to keep sexual abuse allegations confidential and hidden in an effort to protect individuals, money and the image of an organization. Tragically, the effort to protect the organization's image, the organization's money and individuals is often at the expense of the victims of the abuse.

The Boy Scouts of America created the "Ineligible Volunteer Files" as an internal effort to screen or keep out scout leaders who were considered inappropriate and/or who had been alleged to have committed acts of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. The files include substantiated and unsubstantiated claims made by boy scouts and their families of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct by boy scout leaders. In approximately one third of the cases there was no involvement of police or law enforcement in the alleged claims. Instead, in many instances the accused Boy Scout leaders were asked to leave the Boy Scouts of America but avoided criminal or civil prosecution. Without criminal prosecution it has now become apparent that certain offending scout leaders continued sexually molesting or assaulting other children. In other cases boy scout leaders were put on probation, sent for counseling or given a second chance.

The recently released files specified thirty claims of sexual abuse by Boy Scout leaders in Kentucky during the time period of 1959 to 1985. These claims may not reflect the true number of victims. Many victims do not report the sexual assault, sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. Additionally, it appears that some of the records may have been destroyed by the Boy Scouts once the alleged abuser reached the age of 72 or passed away. Also, the Boy Scout "Perversion Files" do not reflect any reports after 1985. In recent years The Boy Scouts of American has implemented many improved measures to screen and train potential boy scout leaders in an effort to protect boy scouts from sexual predators.

Sexual abuse of children is an extremely delicate and emotional matter. In cases such as these, boy scouts were not protected by the very adults that they and their families trusted. In far too many cases the victims suffer life-long effects of sexual abuse. Survivors of sexual molestation and abuse deserve to recover damages for the physical and mental suffering they have endured. The Boy Scouts of American have a strong and well known reputation for providing programs that build character, responsibility and leadership in young boys. However, the organization should recognize its past mistakes and take responsibility for the boy scouts who were victimized. Brett H. Oppenheimer is a Kentucky attorney who will to offer discuss your concerns about sexual abuse, sexual misconduct or sexual assault. Brett’s office is in Louisville, Kentucky, but he handles cases across the entire state of Kentucky. If you would like to discuss a potential claim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or sexual misconduct against the Boy Scouts of America, or any other organization, you can contact Brett at (502) 242-8877.