After more than 20 years of rejecting accusations that it mishandled the problem of sex abuse in its ranks, the Boy Scouts of America has admitted that its response was sometimes “wrong” and apologized to victims, Youth Today reports. “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,” the group said in an “Open Letter to the Scouting Community.” The statement marks a new approach for an organization that has responded to allegations about a sex abuse problem with tones ranging from virtual silence to defiance. “The apology is not accepted,” said Matt Stewart, a California man who settled an abuse lawsuit against the scouts in 2007. Saying the scouts apologized only after lawsuits and media reports exposed its failure to prevent and confront abuse, he said, “The Boy Scouts covered up these cases. How can you put an 'I'm sorry' behind that?”
The organization is trying to get ahead of a new wave of media reports about abuse in Scouting. The Los Angeles Times has published stories in recent weeks re-examining some 1,800 files that were first analyzed in the early 1990s by several news organizations and in a book. Several major news organizations are preparing stories based on the pending release of 1,200 files from the Oregon lawsuit that the BSA lost in 2010. “With the upcoming release of the files in Oregon, we felt it was important to put the files in context and to make sure we're clear about how we feel about this issue,” said scout spokesman Deron Smith.