For more than 80 years, the Boy Scouts of America has maintained a confidential list of “Ineligible Volunteers” — adults tossed from Scouting because they’re suspected of pedophilia and other offenses. Some people call them the “perversion files.” The Scouts have fought hard to keep the records a secret. Today, reports the Seattle Times, some of those files will be opened broadly to the public, when an Oregon lawyer posts a searchable database of 1,250 accused Scout volunteers from across the country. It is an unprecedented glimpse into the magnitude of sexual-abuse allegations surrounding an organization that prides itself on a squeaky-clean image.
“The stories in those files are real little boys and real stories of abuse,” Portland attorney Kelly Clark said. “And when the public sees these stories in black and white, I think the level of understanding and frustration about sexual abuse in Scouting is going to be significantly elevated.” The files will be posted at kellyclarkattorney.com The Boy Scouts said the confidential list was a way to keep Scouts safe: If a child molester was kicked out of one troop, he couldn’t simply go to another, although some tried. The organization has since strengthened policies, with rules barring one-on-one time between Scouts and volunteers, mandatory reporting of suspected abuse, and criminal background checks.