A judge has ordered the Boy Scouts of America to release its own files about child sex abuse from 1965 to 1985. "In certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong," said the Boy Scouts in a statement.
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
The Boy Scouts of America plan to begin doing what critics argue they should have done decades ago — bring suspected abusers named in the organization's so-called perversion files to the attention of police departments and sheriff's offices across the country.
The Scouts have, until now, argued they did all they could to prevent sex abuse within their ranks by spending a century tracking pedophiles and using those records to keep known sex offenders out of their organization. But a court-ordered release of the perversion files from 1965 to 1985, expected sometime in October, has prompted Scouts spokesman Deron Smith to say the organization will go back into the files and report any offenders who may have fallen through the cracks.
Smith said Mike Johnson, the group's youth protection director and a former police detective, will lead the review.
That could prompt a new round of criminal prosecutions for offenders who have so far escaped justice, said Clatsop County, Ore., District Attorney Josh Marquis. But investigations may require more than what most Scout files provide, including victims willing to cooperate.
"Let's even assume the suspect confessed," he said. "An uncorroborated confession is not sufficient for a conviction."
Many states have no statutes of limitations for children victimized when they were younger than 16, so even decades-old crimes could be fair game.