A new report published in the L.A. Times accuses The Boy Scouts of America with covering up hundreds of cases of sexual abuse dating from 1970 to 1991. Reporters from the paper gained access to files referred to as the "perversion files" by The Boy Scouts, which are used by scouting officials to blacklist alleged molesters and keep them out of the organization.
Jason Felch co-wrote the L.A. Times report and he dug through 1,600 cases detailing the allegations against Boy Scout personnel and volunteers. Felch joins Zoraida Sambolin on Early Start this morning to discuss the specifics of the investigation and to explain how the documents were obtained.
Discussing the accusations, which he describes as "explicit and detailed," Felch explains that as many as 2,000 to 3,000 victims are likely named in these files because many of the cases involved several victims.
Felch says that the documents indicate a pattern of protecting alleged sexual abusers. “In 80% of the cases, we found no indication that the authorities had been accounted,” Felch says. “In more than a hundred of cases, we found explicit references to the fact to efforts to hide the abuse, sometimes even from the parents of the victims.”
The L.A. Times reporters ran many of these cases under public records searches and interviewed people who’d been involved in the case to find out if there was information that had been given to the police that was not in the file.
“By and large what we find is if it’s not in the file, it didn’t happen,” Felch says. “What’s clear is that in many of these cases, The Boy Scouts, instead of informing authorities, decided to keep this information to themselves.”
Felch explains that in the course of the investigation, the reporters repeatedly discovered that many of the men whose sexual abuse was covered up by the Boy Scouts went on to be face accusations of different crimes involving sexual abuse of boys.