Boy Scouts: Handling of Abuse 'Insufficient, Inappropriate or Wrong'
The international organization says its current child-protection system a successful program.
The Boy Scouts of America, which handed over thousands of pages of internal documents detailing hundreds of child abuse allegations over a 20-year-period, says it has learned from its mistakes.
Instead of alerting authorities, in some cases, or parents, in others, the organization instead just kept files of the accusations in an attempt to keep those accused from serving in leadership positions.
From 1965 to 1985, according to documents released to the public Thursday as part of a $18.5 million court case, there were more than 1,200 Scout volunteers and leaders who were added to the "ineligible volunteer files." The files have become known as the Scouts' "perversion files."
The Scouts current president, Wayne Perry, said the organization admits mishandling those cases and has built a new system lauded for its protection of children.
Here is his statement in full:
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. Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families.
While it is difficult to understand or explain individuals’ actions from many decades ago, today Scouting is a leader among youth serving organizations in preventing child abuse. The BSA requires background checks, comprehensive training programs for volunteers, staff, youth and parents and mandates reporting of even suspected abuse. We have continuously enhanced our multi-tiered policies and procedures to ensure we are in line with and, where possible, ahead of society’s knowledge of abuse and best practices for prevention. BSA’s standards and relentless focus on youth protection have been recognized and praised by experts in child protection - including Victor Vieth, a former prosecutor who heads the National Child Protection Training Center.
Experts have found that the BSA’s system of Ineligible Volunteer Files functions well to help protect Scouts by denying entry to dangerous individuals, and Scouting believes that they play an important role in our comprehensive youth protection system.