A review of confidential files shows the Boy Scouts of America frequently failed to report instances of child molestation to authorities by either hiding evidence of abuse or allowing suspects to do so, according to a report Sunday by The Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper said it reviewed 1,600 cases in the organization’s “perversion files,” a set of confidential documents the Scouts have been trying to keep out of the public eye, citing concerns over the privacy of both victims of abuse and those falsely accused.
The files in question were admitted into court in a 1992 case, and the Oregon Supreme Court recently ordered that 1,247 other files covering the period between 1965 and 1985 be made available.
In its review, the Times found that the organization heard about instances of abuse most often after they were reported to authorities. But in more than 500 cases, the Scouts were the ones initially notified, and in 80 percent of those instances, there is no record of the abuse being reported to authorities.
Boy Scouts officials did not comment on the review, instead releasing a statement saying the organization has “always cooperated fully with any request from law enforcement and today require our members to report even suspicion of abuse directly to their local authorities.” However, that specific requirement was only instituted two years ago.
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