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Archive for Friday, October 19, 2012

Boy Scout ‘perversion files’ have 14 Kansas cases

In this Tuesday, Oct., 16, 2012 photo, Portland attorney Kelly Clark examines some of the 14,500 pages of previously confidential documents created by the Boy Scouts of America concerning child sexual abuse within the organization, in preparation for releasing the documents Thursday, Oct. 18, in his office in Portland, Ore. The Boy Scouts of America fought to keep those files confidential.

In this Tuesday, Oct., 16, 2012 photo, Portland attorney Kelly Clark examines some of the 14,500 pages of previously confidential documents created by the Boy Scouts of America concerning child sexual abuse within the organization, in preparation for releasing the documents Thursday, Oct. 18, in his office in Portland, Ore. The Boy Scouts of America fought to keep those files confidential.

October 19, 2012

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— An array of local authorities — police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and town Boy Scout leaders among them — quietly shielded scoutmasters and others who allegedly molested children, according to a newly opened trove of confidential files compiled from 1959 to1985.

At the time, those authorities justified their actions as necessary to protect the good name and good works of Scouting. But as detailed in 14,500 pages of secret "perversion files" released Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court, their maneuvers protected suspected sexual predators while victims suffered in silence.

The files document sex abuse allegations across the country, from a small town in the Adirondacks to downtown Los Angeles. The confidential files kept for years by Boy Scouts of America detailing allegations of sexual abuse against boys include 14 cases from Kansas.

Six of the 14 cases detailed in files released Thursday were from troops in Wichita. Other cases were from Olathe, Arkansas City, Manhattan, Newton, Kansas City, Hoisington and two from Leavenworth.

The Boy Scouts released about 14,500 pages of what are being called "perversion files" on cases across the country dating from 1959 to 1985.

A Portland law firm that made the files available stressed that simply because a case is on the list does not mean the allegations are true. Some of the national cases resulted in court sentences but others have not been substantiated or were dropped.

At a news conference Thursday, Portland attorney Kelly Clark blasted the Boy Scouts for their continuing legal battles to try to keep the full trove of files secret.

"You do not keep secrets hidden about dangers to children," said Clark, who in 2010 won a landmark lawsuit against the Boy Scouts on behalf of a plaintiff who was molested by an assistant scoutmaster in the 1980s.

The files were shown to a jury in a 2010 Oregon civil suit that the Scouts lost, and the Oregon Supreme Court ruled the files should be made public. After months of objections and redactions, the Scouts and Clark released them.

The Associated Press obtained copies of the files weeks ahead of Thursday's release and conducted an extensive review of them, but agreed not to publish the stories until the files were released.

The new files are a window on a much larger collection of documents the Boy Scouts of America began collecting soon after their founding in 1910. The files, kept at Boy Scout headquarters in Texas, consist of memos from local and national Scout executives, handwritten letters from victims and their parents and newspaper clippings about legal cases. The files contain details about proven molesters, but also unsubstantiated allegations

Many of the files released on Thursday have been written about before, but this is the first time the earliest ones have been put in the public domain.

The 1959-85 files show that on many occasions the files succeeded in keeping pedophiles out of Scouting leadership positions — the reason they were collected in the first place.

But the files document some troubling patterns.

In many instances — more than a third, according to the Scouts' own count — police weren't told about the alleged abuse.

And there is little mention in the files of concern for the welfare of Scouts who were allegedly abused by their leaders. But there are numerous documents showing compassion for suspected abusers, who were often times sent to psychiatrists or pastors to get help.

In 1972, a Pennsylvania Scouting executive wrote a memo recommending a case against a suspected abuser be dropped with the words: "If it don't stink, don't stir it."

In numerous instances, alleged abusers are kicked out of Scouting but show up in jobs where they are once again in authority positions dealing with youths.

One of the most startling revelations to come from the files is the frequency with which attempts to protect Scouts from alleged molesters collapsed at the local level, at times in collusion with community leaders.

On the afternoon of Aug. 10, 1965, a distraught Louisiana mother walked into the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office. A 31-year-old scoutmaster, she told the chief criminal deputy, had raped one of her sons and molested two others.

Six days later, the scoutmaster sat down in the same station and confessed.

"I don't know an explanation, why we done it or I done it or wanted to do it or anything else it just — an impulse I guess or something," the man told a sheriff's deputy.

The decision was made not to pursue charges. "This subject and Scouts were not prosecuted," a Louisiana Scouts executive wrote to national headquarters, "to save the name of Scouting."

In a statement on Thursday, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said" ''There is nothing more important than the safety of our Scouts."

Smith said there have been times when Scouts' responses to sex abuse allegations were "plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong" and the organization extends its "deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families."

The Scouts in late September made public an internal review of the files and said they would look into past cases to see whether there were times when abusers should have been reported to police.

The files showed a "very low" incidence of abuse among Scout leaders, said psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Warren, who conducted the review with a team of graduate students and served as an expert witness for the Scouts in the 2010 case that made the files public. Her review of the files didn't take into account the number of files destroyed on abusers who turned 75 years old or died, something she said would not have significantly affected the rate of abuse or her conclusions.

The rate of abuse among Scouts is the not the focus of their critics — it is, rather, their response to allegations of abuse.

Throughout the files released Thursday are cases in which steps were taken to protect Scouting's image.

In Newton, Kan., in 1961, the county attorney had what he needed for a prosecution: Two men were arrested and admitted that they had molested Scouts in their care. But neither man was prosecuted.

The entire investigation, the county attorney wrote, was brought about with the cooperation of a local district Scouts executive, who was kept apprised of the investigation's progress into the men, who had affiliations with both the Scouts and the local YMCA.

"I came to the decision that to openly prosecute would cause great harm to the reputations of two organizations which we have involved here — the Boy Scouts of America and the local YMCA," he wrote in a letter to a Kansas Scouting executive.

In Johnstown, Pa., in August 1962, a married 25-year-old steel mill worker with a high school education pleaded guilty to "serious morals" violations involving Scouts.

The Scouting executive who served as both mayor and police chief made sure of one thing: The Scouting name was never brought up. It went beyond the mayor to the members of a three-judge panel, who also deemed it important to keep the Scouts' names out of the press.

"No mention of Scouting was involved in the case in as much as two of the three judges who pronounced sentence are members of our Executive Board," the Scouts executive wrote to the national personnel division.


Associated Press writers Matt Sedensky in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho; and Shannon Dininny in Yakima, Wash., contributed to this report.

Comments

paulveer 2 years, 1 month ago

But be sure to keep the gays and atheists out!

I spent my entire youth and adolescence in Scouting, three badges short of eagle. I have long since all lost pride from my association, and all trust in the institution. None of my children or grandchildren have participated in Scouting.

Enlightenment 2 years, 1 month ago

Gay marriage doesn't lead to a society of perversion, Scouting does.

mom_of_three 2 years, 1 month ago

gay marriage is not a perversion. two committed adults should be allowed to marry, regardless of whether you believe it is right or not.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

"two committed adults should be allowed to marry, regardless of whether you believe it is right or not."

Why does the number have to be two?

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

It's time to move on. Gay people are just like you and deserve the same protections and government recognition that you have. As for perversion, that isn't your call to make, and your "many states" are in violation of the 14th amendment.

jonas_opines 2 years, 1 month ago

You might consider that he IS serious. Sad, true, but also sadly true, in all likelihood.

Paul Geisler 2 years, 1 month ago

If you are a heterosexual man does that mean you like to have sex with little girls? Probably not, right? So why would you assume that homosexual men would like to have sex with little boys? Pedophiles like to have sex with children; boys & girls. Homosexuals like to have sex with men. And lesbians like to have sex with women. See the difference? This is about adults with authority covering up criminal behavior against young boys in order to preserve the sanctity of the Boy Scouts of America. And it is shameful & pathetic!

Enlightenment 2 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like a repressed, religious, and conservative minded organization has a pedophile cover up.

blindrabbit 2 years, 1 month ago

I have always felt that the BSA is a potential hotbed for perverted closeted scout leaders. The fact that the BSA purports to be so Christian and so opposed to homosexual attitudes indicates a rather bizzare fascination with the subject. Letting young impressionable youth troop off with some of the scout leaders I have known makes me think of the Catholic Church and it's problems with abuse. Many years ago I decided not to contribute to the United Way because of my BSA suspicions. Yes, I know about the designation of UW funds away from a specified group, but I'd rather support a group directly

Seth Peterson 2 years, 1 month ago

This often helps the organization a lot more as well, allowing them the freedom to spend the funds as needed and receive them in full, rather than having them limited in their use after UW takes an administrative cut (often more than 15% of the donation).

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

You mean like the US Government? Good for you.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

And you know that, how? I would expect a dominatrix to speak from experience. I think you just read it somewhere. :-)

firebird27 2 years, 1 month ago

Having been a Scout leader, I was in a position to know about this issue, and some of these comments are off the mark. Any organization should be accountable in regard to child abuse, but in my Scouting position, I was called by the Council office as to the status of some individuals. As seen with current events, some child abusers move from place to place, and I was asked if a certain person came from a particular city. The aim was to make sure that our local district was not penetrated by any child abuser. When I was a leader, there were a couple of cases where leaders were dismissed (not in Lawrence however).

For many years, Scouting has had the policy that there must be a minimum of two adults present when Scouts are present. I once told a Scout who wanted me to be his merit badge counselor that he would need to have a parent accompany him in order to comply with this policy.

Once again, every organization needs to be responsible. I doubt if there is a youth organization in the USA that does not face this potential problem. Scouting is a fine organization. I found that Scouts learn a great deal about leadership, how to take care of themselves in nature, and how to work with other people. Scouting does good work, and independent evaluators have argued that donations to the BSA are a high return for the investment. Unfortunately, Scouting can attract adults with less than principled motives.

paulveer 2 years, 1 month ago

And teach them how to discriminate against gays and atheists?

Enlightenment 2 years, 1 month ago

So did ever make a report to the police if there was a known perpetrator in the Scouts? If you and the organization knew about perpetrators, why was it not reported? Doing nothing is also criminal.

james bush 2 years, 1 month ago

There are abberations from the normal distrbution in all populations, including people. That's why majority should rule with recognition of minority rights. Minority rights does not mean "take over the social mores of the majority."

Patricia Davis 2 years, 1 month ago

BSA needs to be held accountable and prosecuted, sued and all of those people who chose to save the BSA"brand" need to be brought to justice. I stopped giving to United Way years ago because of the BSA's ultra Christian no atheists allowed mentality.

midwestmom 2 years, 1 month ago

Sad irony that the Boy Scouts of America continued to fight the release of the damaging (to their image) documents. If they TRULY CARED ABOUT SCOUTS AND MAKING AMENDS THEY WOULD BE ACTIVELY ADVOCATING FOR OPEN RECORDS and would help comb through their archives to find the victims of the molesters and offer their apologies and any support they could....

Saying one thing and doing the other makes a lie of "... the organization extends its "deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families."

kansanbygrace 2 years, 1 month ago

A tightrope situation, Mom, where the Scouts' data base included many accusations for which there was no supporting evidence, where there was inadequate evidence for trial, etc., etc. and serious liabilities incur when making accusations from a source which is much more inclusive than, for example, the sex offender data base of those who have been proven abusers, not merely suspected or accused. Without due process, innocent people can be victimized by well-intending citizens who sometimes harm their neighbors in their haste to judgement.

blindrabbit 2 years, 1 month ago

Maybe not the 4-H, but I was suspicious as a youth in YMCA in California where all of the young kids (boys only, I don't think the girls did) swam in the nude, me included. Never did see or experience anything out of sorts, but just kinda strange.

Many of these groups, YMCA, BSA, GSA have similar foundations to the youth groups that were so popular in Europe, and especially Germany prior to and during WW2. Not saying any connection, but just coincidenal, maybe.

Mike Ford 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm pretty sure my assistant cub scout leader in Manhattan, Kansas, was one of the cases. I was a cub scout at a Baptist Church near the Northview neighborhood and Tuttle Creek in 1981. We went on a campout near Flush, Kansas, and my classmate had already been sodomized by an assistant scout master and was trying to recruit and groom me for him on that trip. I got the creeps and left the tent. The assistant scoutmaster got seven years in Lansing for the sodomy of my classmate when we were sixth graders. Thirty years later as a ministers kid I see through the hypocracy of family values and scouting.

paulveer 2 years, 1 month ago

tusch, I'm sorry you experienced that. I'm guessing that even being close to that stuff can be pretty traumatic. I am very thankful I was not so victimized, having been brought up in Scouting and the Catholic Church in the 50's and 60's.

akt2 2 years, 1 month ago

The perverts are everywhere the kids are. So basically you can't really trust anyone. Churchs, youth groups, schools, scouts, team sports, the list goes on. Society needs to learn to recognize these chamelions. Then when they are identified, swift justice by whatever means necessary.

kansanbygrace 2 years, 1 month ago

Boy Scouts of America has a program called Venture Scouts, used to be Exploring, which is open to young women as well as young men. It's a 14-and up organization.

This data base included names of people hinted, suspected, accused, charged and acquited and charged and convicted. They were almost all between 1965 and 1985 or so. Since the late '70's, Scouting has put together a very thorough and painstaking system of review of scouters and their references, background checks all the way to the FBI, training and re-training of all adult volunteers every 2 years. 2-deep adult leadership is mandatory at every get-together. Every Scout must take a buddy (fellow Scout, normally) even to a meeting with a Merit Badge counselor, and 18 other sensible, practical rules.

I've taught Red Cross, ASA, 4-H, church and Scouts, and the Scouting program's youth protection program today is more comprehensive and protective of Scouts than any other I've seen.

BSA has been taking this very, very seriously in the decades since these cases occurred, as well they should.

jonas_opines 2 years, 1 month ago

Despite how much more press the women get when they do it, the overwhelming majority of child molesters are men. But it would certainly be unwise to teach a child to be blind to the possibility of unwanted advances from women, as well as men.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

That's a horrible thing to say. If you are serious, you are publicly implying serious accusations on spurious grounds and if you are kidding you are making light of assaults committed on kids.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

I know you aren't accusing them. You wouldn't stoop that low. But that means you are making light of the situation. It's just something I wouldn't do,

I can sort of tell when they are women, I usually can tell their political bent and I can figure out who they will vote for for president sometimes. Most important I can spot the people that are smarter than I am all the time. :-). For all that wonderful insight I posses, I still cannot tell anything about their skin from reading their words. How can you tell they are white?

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully any person accused of assault or of covering up an assault will receive unbiased due process and be sentenced appropriately if found guilty. Naturally, that goes for anyone accused of anything.

Innocent until proven guilty. This is the sort of case that makes people forget that tenet of American justice, so now is when it is most important.

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