The Boy Scouts of America admitted in an open letter this week that its response to sex abuse allegations was “plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong.” The letter followed an Oregon Supreme Court order that the organization release files from 1965 to 1985 about “ineligible volunteer” candidates. The files from that 20-year span are thought to contain evidence the Boy Scouts knowingly covered up and ignored evidence that pedophiles were volunteering, NBC reports.
Dr. Janet Warren, a psychiatry professor of neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia, assembled a report that found 829 of the documents dated between 1965 and 1985 include confirmed sexual abuse or suspicious behavior involving 1,622 youths.
The attention around the case has been on the rise since the revelation that one Scout official had molested at least 17 boys in the early 1980s, according to the Associated Press.
Four-hundred-eighty-six of the men implicated in the files were arrested for a sex crime at one point in their lives, although in some cases the arrest took place after they were involved with the Boy Scouts of America. Police were involved in 531 of the cases.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Warren and her team were paid $75,000 to complete the study. She was also careful to note that a minuscule fraction of the 1 million-or-so adults who volunteered with the Boy Scouts sexually abused children. Timothy Kosnoff, a Seattle plaintiff’s attorney, told the LA Times that number is still unacceptable.
“Personally I have represented more than a hundred men abused by Scout leaders whose names were never entered in the …files – even after BSA paid out substantial settlements on account of thse abusers,” Kosnoff said. “The files are only the tip of the iceberg. Most perpetrators never get caught.”
The LA Times concluded – based on Warren’s report – that when the Scouts learned of an abuse allegation from a victim or his parents, police were notified only 20 percent of the time. BSA officials actively tried to suppress information in at least 100 cases.
The president of the Boy Scouts, the national commissioner, and a chief Scout executive wrote an open letter to the Scouting community that the organization will conduct their own investigation into the allegations.
“For any episode of abuse, and in any instance where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies and sympathies to victims and their families,” the letter read. “While we believe the files are an inconclusive record, the BSA will undertake a similar review and analysis of the IV (ineligible volunteer) files created from 1965 to present and ensure that all good-faith suspicion of abuse has been reported to law enforcement.”