The sexual abuse of a 13-year-old Boy Scout by an adult volunteer was part of a “sordid history of child sexual abuse” within the organization that has been documented internally for nearly a century, the victim’s attorney said Monday at a civil trial in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Associated Press reports that the Scout, now 20, has sued the Boy Scouts of America and a local scouting council for punitive damages after being molested by a volunteer leader in 2007. He claims in his negligence lawsuit that the Scouts failed to warn parents about the dangers of sex abuse.
His attorney, Tim Hale, won the right to draw evidence from more than 30 years of “perversion” files kept by the Scouts. The files cleared for use by Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna D. Geck include 16 years of documents — from 1991 to 2007— that have never been seen before. Hale told the jury that the Scouts had compiled an archive of about 10,000 such files between 1920 and 2007. “The Boy Scouts of America has a long and sordid history of child sexual abuse committed against young Scouts,” he said.