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Texas not excluded from Boy Scout sex abuse files

It took a court order to force the Texas-headquartered Boy Scouts of America to release files concerning decades of alleged or known sexual misbehavior. The Boy Scouts have been strongly criticized for trying to fight the release of letters, memos and news articles detailing child sexual abuse by youth leaders across the U.S.

A state high court forced the Boy Scouts to reveal the files, meant to weed out sexual predators from the organization. Instead, the records showed that Scout leaders committed or were accused of committing sexual assaults on boys, which were covered up by the organization, clergy, law enforcers and other authorities.

The attorney, who successfully prosecuted an assistant Boy Scoutmaster in the 1980s on molestation charges two years ago and helped bring the files to national attention, was disgusted with the organization’s attempt to keep the files secret. The prosecutor accused the Scouts of trying to "keep secrets hidden about dangers to children."

Upon the release of the two and a half decades of documents, experts slammed the organization for fostering a "corrosive culture of secrecy." Several Texas cases were included in the previously-hidden "perversion files," including a Longview case of molestation that remained silent within the organization.

The Boy Scouts did not inform police about sexual abuse allegations in at least one-third of the cases on file. Critics say the Boy Scouts have done more within the group to track its Scoutmasters and assistants. What appears to be lacking in the files and in the present Boy Scout plan is aid for the victims of the silent decades of sexual abuse.

Boy Scout officials admitted that, in some cases, the organization’s responses to accusations of molestation and sexual assault were "plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong." The group extended apologies to victims and stated that Scout safety was a priority.

The Boy Scouts apparently began recording information in the "perversion files" shortly after its inception in 1910. The files released to the public covered 1959 to 1985.

Source: news-journal.com, "East Texas cases among those mentioned in Boy Scouts sexual abuse documents," Oct. 21, 2012

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