A Los Angeles Times review of more than 1,200 files from 1970 to 1991 found more than 125 cases across the U.S. in which men allegedly continued to molest Boy Scouts after the organization was first presented with detailed allegations of abusive behavior. Predators slipped back into the program by falsifying personal information or skirting the registration process. Others were able to jump from troop to troop thanks to clerical errors, computer glitches, or the Scouts’ failure to check their own “blacklist.” In some cases, officials failed to document reports of abuse in the first place, letting offenders stay in the organization until new allegations surfaced. In others, officials documented abuse but merely suspended the accused leader or allowed him to continue working with boys while on “probation.” In at least 50 cases, the Boy Scouts expelled suspected abusers, only to discover later that they had reentered the program and were accused of molesting again.
One scoutmaster was expelled in 1970 for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Indiana. Even after being convicted of the crime, he went on to join two troops in Illinois between 1971 and 1988. He later admitted to molesting more than 100 boys, was convicted of the sexual assault of a Scout in 1989 and was sentenced to 100 years in prison, according to his file and court records. “Basically, there were no controls,” said Bill Dworin, a retired Los Angeles police expert on child sexual abuse who reviewed hundreds of the files as a witness for an Oregon man abused by his troop leader in the 1980s. In 2010, the plaintiff, Kerry Lewis, won a nearly $20-million jury verdict against the Scouts.