Boy Scout Files Give Glimpse Into 20 Years of Sex Abuse

“We definitely fell short — for that we just have to apologize to the victims and the parents and say that we’re profoundly sorry,” said Wayne Perry, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, in a telephone interview. “We are sorry for any kid who suffered.”

Boy Scouts camped near Dixon Lake, Calif., in April. Thousands of pages of documents were released Thursday detailing accusations of abuse by scout leaders between 1965 and 1985.

Details of decades of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America, and what child welfare experts say was a corrosive culture of secrecy that compounded the damage, were cast into full public view for the first time on Thursday with the release of thousands of pages of documents describing abuse accusations across the country.

“The secrets are out,” said Kelly Clark, a lawyer whose firm obtained the files as evidence in an $18.5 million civil judgment against the Scouts in 2010, then prevailed all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court in seeking to have them made public. Mr. Clark said in a news conference that the database would be sortable by state, year and name.

Officials with the Boy Scouts fought in the courts for years to prevent the release of the documents — more than 15,000 pages detailing accusations of sexual abuse against 1,247 scout leaders between 1965 and 1985, with thousands of victims involved, perhaps many thousands — contending that fear of breached confidentiality could inhibit victims from reporting other instances of abuse.


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