The future for the Boy Scouts of America is hazy after numbers of sexual abuse reports were released. The BSA believes that over the past 72 years over 7,800 former leaders were involved in the sexual abuse of BSA members. There have been 12,000 individuals that have come forth reporting abuse during the 72-year time span in question. The publication of these files is being called the release of the “perversion files."
This is not the first instance of these files and numbers being released. Around 1,000 files were published in 2012 on individuals who were not eligible to be volunteers in the BSA. The release came after a court trial involving a BSA Scoutmaster. The BSA requires that all incidents surrounding sexual abuse must immediately be reported to the officials. Those numbers jumped after the court case. The BSA believes the main issue is that cases are not being reported immediately.
The numbers come from a screening database that the BSA uses to show those who are ineligible to volunteer in their organization. The database shows individuals that have violated the Boy Scouts’ policy, which includes accusations of sexual assault. These individuals have been removed and banned from the organization.
Jeff Anderson is an attorney that represents sexual abuse victims. During his testimony on Tuesday, April 23, it was Anderson who released the final numbers of abuse cases. Anderson commented, “what hadn’t been known to us is the real scope of this” (CNN). The BSA has released that they care about all members of their organization and released an apology to all who have been affected.
The statement from the BSA also reads, "At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement" (CNN).
The numbers were revealed during a sexual abuse trial that was not related to the Boy Scouts. Janet Warren, a professor at the University of Virginia, testified during the Minnesota trial. Warren is an expert reviewing policies centered around keeping children safe from sexual abuse. The BSA brought Warren on to look over their database and recommend any changes that need to occur in order to better protect its members from abuse.
When asked about her time with BSA, Warren responds that there does not seem to be evidence of a coverup in the situation. Warren also mentions that the BSA has revoked membership to individuals who they believed to have violated their policies. She is working with the BSA and is planning on presenting her in-depth finding later this summer.
There is no word on how these findings will affect the future of the Boy Scouts of America. There has been no comment from the Boy Scouts of America as to whether or not the database or their procedures will be changing anytime soon.