For more than 80 years, the Boy Scouts of America have been keeping tabs on suspected pedophiles. Today, some 20,000 pages of those documents from 1966 to 1985 will go public in a searchable database, giving us a glimpse of exactly how "safe" the Boy Scouts kept their boys. There are around 1,250 Scout volunteers across the country named in those files. But the Boy Scouts aren't making their files public out of the goodness of their heart, they're doing so because there's a court-order to release those files—a court order which came after a $20 million judgment the Scouts were ordered to pay by a jury which found that the Scouts failed to protect six boys (now men) from an assistant Scoutmaster who had admitted to molesting other scouts and a Los Angeles Times investigation in which found that the Scouts had kept abuses to themselves. "In about 400 of those cases — 80 percent — there is no record of Scouting officials reporting the allegations to police," reported The Los Angeles Times's Kim Christensen and Jason Felch in September. On October 1, when the release of the files were announced, the Scouts promised to go over the files report pedophiles they might have missed to police.
The "online database will include the name, troop, date of the accusation and a brief description. Click on the links and you'll be able to see some 15,000 pages of the Scouts' documentation, with the names of victims redacted," reports The Seattle Times's Maureen O'Hagan. The pages will be made public after a press conference Thursday.
"If you see the same thing happening year in year out, you can't just sit there and make a list. If your program isn't working, you make changes." Portland Attorney Kelly Clark, the lawyer who won the $20 million abuse case and who's also in charge of putting the documents online, told O'Hagan about the patterns he saw (and you may see) in those files. The Boy Scouts don't see it that way. "Experts have found that the BSA’s system of Ineligible Volunteer Files functions well to help protect Scouts by denying entry to dangerous individuals, and Scouting believes that they play an important role in our comprehensive youth protection systems," reads the official statement on their website.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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