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Sex abuse files surface in Boy Scout, Mormon case

March 30, 2010

Faith Report News Note:

An Oregon sex abuse case could uncover a secret Boy Scout file of Scout leader sexual abusers.  Some have labeled the records as the “Perversion Files”. A Portland lawyer, Kelly Clark, has obtained over 1,000 of these records. Because the Mormon Church was a charter organization, they are also named in the case.

KVAL reports more on the story,“At the start of the Oregon trial, attorney Kelly Clark recited the Boy Scout oath and the promise to obey Scout law to be “trustworthy.” Then he presented six boxes of documents that he said will show “how the Boy Scouts of America broke that oath.”  He held up file folder after file folder he said contained reports of abuse from around the country, telling the jury the efforts to keep them secret may have actually set back efforts to prevent child abuse nationally. “The Boy Scouts of America ignored clear warning signs that Boy Scouts were being abused,” Clark said.

Charles Smith, attorney for the national Boy Scouts, said in his own opening statement the files were kept under wraps because they “were replete with confidential information.”

“..The Boy Scouts had fought to keep the files being used in the Portland trial confidential. But they lost a pretrial legal battle when the Oregon Supreme Court rejected their argument that opening the files could damage the lives and reputations of people not a party to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because the Mormons acted as a charter organization, or sponsor, for the local Boy Scouts troop that included the victim. But the church has settled its portion of the case. The Portland trial comes as the Boy Scouts are marking their 100th anniversary.”  Continue Reading.

  
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Discuss this article

Chris March 30, 2010

So sad.

Robert March 30, 2010

It’s bad enough that the abuse happens, but the cover up makes it so much worse, and with a “church” involved…….

MrNirom March 30, 2010

Too bad that every person that breaks the law and is associated with a church that the headline can’t read: Catholic arrested on DUI charges. Baptist arrested for Child abuse. Methodist arrested for wife beating.

I am so sick and tired of having to know what religion all these criminals have been associated with. It is not the religion that commits the crime.. it is the person.

davidwr March 31, 2010

If the Scouts win, organizations will be free to continue keeping records to back up these hunches and with details. This is A Good Thing.

If the Scouts lose this will send a chilling effect to organizations and their adult leaders. Adult leaders might feel legally safer under an unwritten, not-discussed, every-adult-comes-to-this-decision-independently approach of “if you have a hunch something is wrong but don’t have enough evidence to defeat a future libel lawsuit, encourage the person to resign or move him away from kids” rather than an “investigate, keep the guys who did nothing wrong, and throw the bastards out and blacklist them and report anyone you suspect of actually breaking a law” mentality.

The whole issue of not reporting people who actually engaged in illegal activity or who crossed the threshold of “reasonable suspicion” of child abuse out of fear of being sued for libel or slander was made moot by mandatory reporting laws and civil immunity from good-faith reporting laws that kicked in in the last generation or two. In the Scouts, it has also been mooted by strong child-protection programs that the Scouts started in the mid-late 80s and have improved in the decades since. Today, any Boy Scout leader who is alone with a child long enough for anything bad to happen will be in violation of the rules and if there’s not a very good extenuating circumstance may be kicked out. The Boy Scouts also take care to protect younger boys from older youth and give all youth and leaders age- and position-appropriate child-abuse-prevention training.

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