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Sex abuse lawyers at our office have handled cases against religious organizations, school bus companies, and even hospitals. We are currently working on several claims against the Chicago Archdiocese. Due to our involvement in this type of work, we have been closely following the Boy Scouts story.
Multiple media outlets, including CNN, the Washington Post and the LA Times, are reporting that over 20,000 confidential documents will be released today by the Boy Scouts. The documents will reportedly identify more than 1000 Boy Scout leaders and volunteers that were accused of sexual misconduct with boys and were banned from the group. The files date from 1965 to 1985.
CNN is reporting that the files will not contain the identity of the victims and witnesses. They are being released with the permission of the Oregon Supreme Court stemming from a case where there was an $18.5 million judgment in 2010 against the Boy Scouts due to the sexual abuse of a boy by a scoutmaster.
The president of the Boy Scouts of America has stated that they are very dedicated to protecting children, but when on to admit that their response to sex abuse allegations in the past were “plainly insufficient, inappropriate or wrong”.
The Boy Scouts are against the court’s decision to release the documents. They argued that confidentiality has encouraged the reporting of possible abuse. They also believe the release could impact sex abuse victim’s rights to privacy
I personally feel that’s a ridiculous argument, as the names of victims are not being released, and the release of these documents could encourage many victims to come forward. Often victims of abuse bury their issues for years due to embarrassment or other reasons. Victims are more likely to suffer from depression, are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and are more likely to attempt to commit suicide.
When a victim comes forward, they are often encouraged to get help and go to therapy, and start dealing with their issues. This process can improve their quality of life immensely.
The attorneys who won the release of the documents are holding a news conference today in Portland, Oregon. They are also asking for the release of sexual abuse files from 1995 – present.
One California attorney who represents scout victims is stating he believes that there could be “hundreds if not thousands of unidentified men who should be registered sex offenders who are roaming free in society”. He also said that due to the Boy Scouts actions, these men have been free for years to volunteer with other youth organizations, and work in schools.
The LA Times is reporting that these documents have been given the nickname “perversion files” and that they could show an unprecedented look at how these sex abuse cases were handled by the scouts from the 1960s – 1985. Their story also states that they have published a series of articles looking at nearly 1900 cases from 1977 to 1991. They found that hundreds of allegations were never reported to police and that Boy Scout officials often helped alleged abusers cover up what happened.
The LA Times article says their files show a pattern of “grooming behavior that alleged sexual abusers used to seduce their victims, and often to ensure their silence”.
If you or a loved one is a child sexual abuse victim, know that you are not alone and that you can get help. Please feel free to contact our office for a confidential consultation.