Boy Scouts Refuse to Release Files on Child Molestors
The guy who lives down the street next to the playground is a pervert who likes to fondle young boys. You know it. You even investigated him to make absolutely sure.
You compiled everything you learned -- and it's some pretty damning stuff -- in a massive file. The police would love to take a look at it.
Sorry. You only use that file to protect your own kids. Other kids just have to take their chances.
Multiply that scenario by the untold thousands, and you get a sense why some people are miffed at the Boy Scouts of America.
As scout leaders have checked out potential volunteers and responded to complaints over the past 90 years, they've uncovered some unsavory secrets. They have identified perverts, thieves and assorted (or sordid) other people unfit to be around kids.
Critics say these files, if made available to law enforcement and other agencies, would provide an invaluable cross-referencing and research tool.
Scout leaders, however, say the files are strictly confidential.
The Dallas Morning News reports that what scouting insiders call their Perversion File came to light when six former Portland, Ore., scouts sued the Boy Scouts of America for not doing more to protect them from convicted sex offender Timur Dykes.
Dykes is allegedly one of the men documented in the file.
"These files represent the largest reservoir of information ever gathered on the sexual abuse of boys in the United States, bar none," Paul Mones, an Oregon lawyer who represented the former scouts, tells the Dallas Morning News. "Even before the pediatric medical community and the law enforcement community knew the extent of the problem, the Boy Scouts knew about it and kept it a secret."
An anonymous source, a Seattle lawyer who also represents former scouts in molestation cases, tells the newspaper the files contain spreadsheets indexing 5,133 files opened between 1947 and 2005.
Scout leaders insist the files must be kept secret to protect sources of information and victims of molestation from retaliation. Also, they say opening the files could lead to defamation lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America for keeping the files in the first place.
They deny the files would be all that helpful to academic, medical and criminal researchers.
"Accordingly, while local Boy Scout councils are required to report any suspicion of inappropriate conduct to law enforcement, The BSA believes -- and third parties have confirmed -- that the files are not useful from a research perspective," the Boy Scouts of America states in a prepared statement to the Dallas Morning News.
Critics say the scout leaders could redact sensitive information from the files, blacking out the names of alleged sources and victims.
Kenneth V. Lanning, a retired FBI agent who specializes in crimes against children, tells the Dallas Morning News he resigned from a scouting expert advisory panel after 10 years.
Lanning said in his resignation letters that the scouts' national leadership "fails to convey an adequate understanding and recognition of the problem of the sexual exploitation of children."
Related: Child Abuse by the Numbers
Ask Us Anything About Parenting
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.