Local reaction to Boy Scouts' "Perversion Files"
Posted at: 10/18/2012 11:15 PM | Updated at: 10/19/2012 12:03 PM
The Boy Scouts of America issued an apology for its handling of scoutmasters accused of molesting children. It comes after the release of nearly 15,000 pages from the organization's so-called "Perversion Files" on men suspected of being pedophiles.
The documents from 1959 to 1985 show that on many occasions they succeeded in keeping pedophiles out of scouting, but many times they did not and sometimes, those abuse allegations were covered up.
The website containing the names of those scoutmasters has seen extremely heavy usage, and as for now, News10NBC is choosing not to release the names, but people say it's shocking.
All four of Dorothy Irby's sons were Boy Scouts. She thought of it as a positive outlet and a great way to keep them occupied. She was angered to learn about the news about former leaders.
"Thank God I don't think none of mine were molested, but they may have know friends who were and just didn't say anything. It's just a horrible thing to happen to a child," Irby says.
The files released include nearly 15,000 pages on scout leaders they suspected of child sex abuse. News10NBC found at least half a dozen former scout leaders who live in our area, but there could be as many as a dozen.
The Boy Scouts of America apologized to the victims of abuse and their families. In a statement released Thursday, the Scouts said, "there were people who misused their positions in scouting to abuse children."
The mother of an infant says this will just make it more difficult to trust your children with other adults.
"I think its a sad day for Boy Scouts. It's sad for parents to realize the friend, the stranger, might have been the one molesting their child," says Netsanet Gebregzieher.
Both the national and local Boy Scouts say they've made drastic changes to their poloticies since the late 80s to better protect children.
A statement from the Seneca Waterways Council says background checks, local screening, comprehensive training and mandatory reporting of suspected abuse are among the youth protection policies now in place.
Former Eagle Scout volunteer Jim Sweetheimer says it's long overdue. "Im a section five umpire for 22 years now and I had to be fingerprinted, they checked the background and every year it's one of the biggest things they emphasize," he says.
The Boy Scouts of America want to make it clear these files have never been kept secret. Further more, it says these files are known to the millions of volunteers in scouting, because their names are checked against this list.