The LA Times
reviewed the 1,600 confidential "perversion" files, which dated from 1970 to 1991, and found that Scouting officials frequently urged offenders who admitted to abuse to resign quietly and helped many cover their tracks.
The Scouts had fought to keep the files confidential according to an ABC
report. A lawsuit against the Scouts forced the organization to admit to their existence. The files were used as a "blacklist" of people that were considered "unfit" to serve within the organization.
The files showed that there were approximately 500 instances where Scout officials were notified of possible sexual abuse by parents, boys and staff members. The majority of those reports were never forwarded to law enforcement.
The first report came in 1971 when a scoutmaster found a 12 year-old boy performing oral sex on an assistant troop leader at a Rhode Island Boy Scout camp. The 12 year-old told Scout officials "Mr. Lazzareschi made me do it to him," and Lazzareschi was called in to talk with Assistant Reservation Director Philip Tracy. Lazzareschi admitted his role in the act but said he'd never done it before. Tracy told Lazzareschi he could no longer serve in any adult capacity with the Scouts and that a report of the incident would be made with the Scout Executive and the National Office. The 12-year old was sent to counseling with Scout Chaplin Fr. Edmond Micarelli and was counseled about his "participation in the act". At the recommendation of Fr. Micarelli, the boys parents were not notified of the incident.
Lazzareschi was later convicted of sexual assault in1997 and possession of child pornography in 2005. Micarelli was "blacklisted" from the Scouts in 1990 after a man came forward and told Scouting officials the priest had raped him and his younger brother when they were boys.
According to Mercury News
, five Boy Scouts filed detailed complaints against a Pennsylvania scoutmaster in 1976, accusing him of rape and other sexual abuse. The scoutmaster resigned, and the troop leader accepted his resignation with "extreme regret" and wished the man luck.
In 1978, Jack Terwilliger
, a Scout leader, ordered an interview of a 12 year-old scout after allegations were made about sex acts between Arthur Humphries, also a scout leader, and the 12 year-old. Humphries was not removed from the scouts and went on to abuse 20 Boy Scouts before he was arrested in 1984 for child molestation. When Humphries was arrested, Terwilliger told the local newspaper that no one had ever suspected Humphires of abuse.
In 1984 a Los Angeles Scout leader was caught by police with hundreds of photos of naked Scouts. Scouting officials worked closely with police and the county children services department to keep the case from becoming public and embarrassing the Scouts the LA Times
In July 1987, an internal "news advisory" was sent to national leaders by a top official at Boy Scouts headquarters. The "advisory" was about allegations against a high-ranking Scout council leader in Milwaukee and said in part:
"Dr. Thomas Kowalski, chairman of health and safety for the Milwaukee County Council, one of the most prominent physicians in the state and one of the authors of the Wisconsin laws on child abuse, has been removed from his BSA volunteer position(s) following allegations that he made sexual advances to two 16-year-old youths at the council's summer long-term camp."
Kowalski admitted to masturbating while fondling the two boys. Wisconsin Scouting officials did report the incidents to police, but the parents chose not to press charges. In an effort to keep the incident from going public, the Scouts then turned to a local newspaper publisher who was also a board member of the Scouts. A memo by the Scouts stated:
The publisher "is aware of the situation but apparently will not be passing the information to his editors."
The files documented many more instances of sexual abuse and cover up. When confronted with the evidence and the LA TImes
report, Boy Scouts of America issued the follow statement:
“The Boy Scouts of America believes even a single instance of abuse is unacceptable, and we regret there have been times when the BSA’s best efforts to protect children were insufficient. For that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims. We are committed to helping members of our Scouting family who have suffered abuse and assist them through a variety of means, including counseling.
We maintain our Ineligible Volunteer Files solely to help our organization remove and keep out individuals deemed to be unfit role models. The files help us to protect youth and are one component of our broader Youth Protection program. Scouting has long maintained multiple barriers to abuse, of which the IV files are part. The files alone have limitations and were only meant to serve as a barrier to keep out unfit members as part of a comprehensive effort to keep kids safe.
In the more than 30 years since these released files were created, we have continuously enhanced our multi-tiered policies and procedures, which now include background checks, comprehensive training programs, and safety policies. We have 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.
We are committed to the ongoing enhancement of our program, in line with evolving best practices for protecting youth.”