Know the Facts? BSA Still Doesn’t

Under “Know the Facts:  BSA Ineligible Volunteer Files,” the Boy Scouts of America claim “independent, third-party expert have confirmed — there is nothing in the files that would further the research field or help develop a profile to prevent abuse”:

“The sole purpose of the files is to prevent those deemed ineligible from registering as Scout leaders. The Ineligible Volunteer Files maintained by the BSA have always served solely as a barrier to entry preventing those who are ineligible to serve as Scout leaders from joining or rejoining Scouting.  Suggesting that they would provide any greater insight from a research perspective reflects a misunderstanding of the purpose and content of the files. The BSA believes—and independent, third-party experts have confirmed—there is nothing in the files that would further the research field or help develop a profile to prevent abuse.”

This statement is, at best, misleading because it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the Boy Scouts finally changed their policies and procedures to account for the information in the perversion files.  While the files did help keep known sexual predators out of Scouts, BSA did not take any meaningful steps to warn children or their parents that pedophiles were using Scouts to abuse children, or how they were using their position to groom children, isolate them, and abuse them.  BSA’s statement is particularly misleading when it knew from the files that most children never report the abuse.

We hope BSA will remove the misleading information from its website, or at least recognize that keeping known predators out of Scouts only solved half of the problem.

 

View the Secret BSA Files

Our co-counsel Kelly Clark and Paul Mones, sexual abuse attorneys in Oregon, have released a database of the Boy Scout perversion files from 1965 to 1985.  We congratulate them and their legal team on their efforts to make the public aware of these files and the information contained within them.

If you or someone you love was sexually abused by a Boy Scout leader or volunteer, please contact one of our sexual abuse attorneys to see if the person is in the files.  While these files only run from 1965 to 1985, the Boy Scouts possess files from before and after those years.  In any case we prosecute, we request any file they have on the person who abused our client.  Please do not be discouraged simply because of the range of these files, or because your Scout leader or volunteer does not appear in these files.  Many children were abused by Scout leaders whose names do not appear in these files, but we believe BSA should be held accountable for failing to timely adopt policies and procedures to protect children.

Forefront in Washington State

We have been using the “perversion” files of the Boy Scouts for nearly a decade, although each trial court usually makes a slightly different decision as to how many of the files we can use.  The trial courts have routinely allowed us to obtain and use the files because they are relevant to show that BSA failed to take reasonable steps to protect Scouts from being abused.

However, last year a trial court in Washington concluded that BSA had no obligation to use the information in the perversion files to better protect our client.  We immediately appealed that order, and we are waiting to have oral argument before the Court of Appeals in Washington.  We expect to have oral argument in the next few months, and hope to have a decision by the middle of next year.  If you would like to see a copy of our brief, please contact us.

The decision will be very important for abuse survivors in Washington because the Court will be faced with the critical question of whether Boy Scouts had any duty to change their policies when they knew that their existing policies were not working.  It will be interesting to see what BSA says to the Court of Appeals when their president just this week admitted (for the first time we’re aware of) that the Boy Scout files contain “the kind of information that should have been used to inform a program  of protection for scouts because it indicated that scouts were at great risk.”

Scouts Honor

Scouts Honor by Patrick Boyle exposed decades of sexual abuse and cover-up in the Boy Scouts of America.  In the process of writing his book, Mr. Boyle accumulated many of the perversion files that have been widely distributed in the past few weeks, including the files that we have been using for nearly a decade to show that the Boy Scouts failed to protect children from being sexually abused.

Next week, more than 20,000 perversion files will be released by the attorneys in Oregon who succesfully used the files in 2010 to obtain an $18M verdict against the Boy Scouts.  Some attorneys have been in the news recently who are wrongfully trying to take credit for our efforts with the perversion files and those of the Oregon attorneys.  If you or someone you love survived abuse while a Boy Scout, please research your options before contacting an attorney to ensure you talk with someone who has actually done the hard work to hold the Boy Scouts accountable.

If you do not contact us, we highly recommend you contact Kelly Clark or Paul Mones.

Perversion Files to be Released Next Week

Next week, Oregon attorney Kelly Clark is set to release tens of thousands of the “perversion files.”  In 2010, Kelly, Paul Mones, and their legal team used the files to prove to an Oregon jury that the Boy Scouts failed to take timely and adequate steps to protect children from being sexually abused.  The jury awarded $1,400,000 in compensatory damages and $18.5 million in punitive damages against the Boy Scouts.

We work closely with Kelly and Mones on a number of Boy Scout cases and support their diligent effort to bring sunshine to this problem.  Other attorneys have been in the news recently trying to take undue credit for the hard work of Kelly, Paul, and their legal team, as well as our own efforts to hold the Boy Scouts accountable.  If you or someone you love survived Boy Scout abuse, we strongly encourage you to Kelly, Paul, or our firm.

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