Skip to comments.Court: Boy Scouts Must Release Abuse Files
Posted on 07/28/2006 11:04:00 AM PDT by Ignatz
Decades of files that the Boy Scouts of America compiled on sexual abuse allegations can be used in a lawsuit claiming the organization was ineffective at preventing abuse, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
About 1,000 files, with names redacted, have been given to the lawyers for three men who say their scoutmaster abused them from 1971 to 1983 when they were Boy Scouts. The files are sealed by court order for now but could be made public at trial, plaintiff's attorney Tim Kosnoff said.
The files include court records and news accounts, as well as rumors and tips from parents and others. Names of accusers, their parents and the alleged perpetrators were removed.
The Boy Scouts has kept such files since the group's inception in 1910 but destroyed records when alleged perpetrators either turned 75 or died, plantiff's attorney Mark Honeywell said.
In addition to the 1,000 files from the Washington case, the attorneys have 1,900 files from a separate court case.
A call to the Boy Scouts organization, based in Irving, Texas, was not returned Thursday.
A statement from the organization said it appealed to the high court out of concern that turning over the files could undermine the effectiveness of Scout youth protection programs.
The Boy Scouts organization says it trains boys how to recognize, resist and report abuse, and background checks for new volunteers have been required since 2003.
The national Scouts organization, its local branches and the former scoutmaster, Bruce Phelps, were named as defendants in the sex abuse lawsuit.
Phelps, 53, of Seattle, settled his portion of the lawsuit months ago and admitted to sexual abuse in a deposition, according to the Kosnoff and Honeywell.
Phelps' attorney, Kenneth Kagan, confirmed the settlement but said Phelps did not admit to all of the plaintiffs' allegations.
Seattle police detectives looked into Phelps' case, but no criminal charges were filed, Kagan said. The lawsuit was filed about 20 years after the alleged abuse ended, and the age of the claims played into the police's decision, Kagan said.
.....This Phelps fellow would have been a scoutmaster at 18...that's pretty unusual......
He likely bacame a registered adult Scouter at 18. He would have held Assistant positions for quite a while. That is he merely reregistered as an adult on turning 18.
Not to mention the victims of false accusations and wild speculation, as well as those who provided actual evidence under agreements of anonymity.
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Not really, I became an ASM when I turned 18 (right before then, I was a JASM)
Unfortunately, I'm only nominally involved with my unit because of college...
The left won't rest until Scouting is no more.
It wasn't the organization's job to prevent abuse. It was the job of the organizations sponsoring the units.
When someone wants to register as an adult leader with a Troop, Pack, Crew or Ship, the Committee Chair of the unit's committee and the Institutional Representative or the Institutional Head sign off on it stating that they believe the individual to be of good character and fit to serve. The IH is the head of the organization sponsoring the unit (Rector of the church, President of the PTA, etc.); the IR would be someone designated by the IH to represent the sponsoring institution to the unit and make sure the unit is acting in the sponsor's interests and is being run in accordance with the policies of both the sponsor and the BSA.
The BSA has no way to police the character and actions of whoever the sponsor decides to sign up. That's the sponsor's job. If allegations or offenses do surface, the BSA can and does ban that person from being registered with the BSA, but there's little that they can do before the fact; they are not there observing. A BSA unit belongs to the sponsor, it's not run directly by the BSA. I'd like to know what these folks think the BSA could have done about these situations.
They'll never make it in their attempt to destroy Scouting, though, because the program is too awesome and instills too much loyalty.
My oldest went Life on Friday and is about to begin his last Eagle merit badge. Hope things are great with you.
Things are going well just tired.
Congrats on your oldest making Life. The MBs go by fast the tough one is the Eagle Packet/Project.