In the wake of the Boy Scouts of America’s so-called “perversion files” being released to the public, the Boy Scouts’ national president, Wayne Perry, is apologizing for any cases where the Scouts mishandled revelations of abuse.
“There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate or wrong,” Perry said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families."
The “perversion files” were released on Thursday under an Oregon court order. The files contain information on men who have been banned from the Boy Scouts of America for allegedly molesting and abusing boys while in volunteer or leadership positions at the organization. Some of the men in the files were dismissed under the assumption of their homosexuality.
The files released to the public take up 14,500 pages of previously confidential data and contain information on 20 years of Scouting, from 1965 to 1985. All in all, the “perversion files” list the names and details of more than 1,200 men blacklisted from the Boy Scouts of America over alleged abuse of children.
One of the most chilling accounts in the files details a Colorado Scout leader named Floyd Slusher who repeatedly served his Scouts alcohol, molested them and then threatened them to keep them quiet.
According to Reuters reports on the files, while Slusher was convicted of sexually abusing children in 1977, the Boy Scouts knew he had abused Scouts as far back as 1972 at a camp in Germany and merely placed him on “probation” rather than reporting him to the police -- a move reminiscent of the Catholic Church.
Portland, Ore., attorney Kelly Clark fought for the release of the files and has been at war with the Scouts over their secrecy and protection of child abusers.
“The secrets are out,” said Clark told the LA Times. “Child abuse thrives in secrecy, and secret systems are where it breeds. And these secrets are out.”
An Associated Press piece on the “perversion files” makes the claim that it was not simply the Boy Scouts of America that covered up alleged child abuse, but that “an array of authorities - police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and local Boy Scout leaders among them - quietly shielded scoutmasters and others accused of molesting children.”
You can access the entire “perversion files” at the website of attorney Kelly Clark. One can search the files by city, state, date, or name of the accused. The names of the alleged victims have been redacted from the documents.