While the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) faces increasing pressure to release the names of leaders accused of sexual abuse, hundreds of alleged victims have come forward to tell their own stories.
The BSA reportedly has kept the names of 7,819 leaders accused of sexual abuse since 1944 a secret. These leaders were accused by 12,254 alleged victims. The “scope” of how many names are found in these so-called “perversion files” hasn’t been known until now, Jeff Anderson, a lawyer for the victims, told NBC News.
Anderson said he learned about the number of people included in these files from a professor at the University of Virginia named Dr. Janet Warren. Warren had reportedly worked with the Boy Scouts while they evaluated their handling of abuse allegations.
The BSA itself has acknowledged that these files exist, but has refused to make them public. Anderson argued that this endangered young children: “They may have removed them from scouting, but the Boy Scouts of America have never alerted communities that this scout leader, this coach, this teacher is known to be a child molester.”
The Boy Scouts, however, insist that the names of these accused abusers have been turned over to law enforcement. The organization said in a statement, “At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement.”
Just in the past few weeks, more than 200 people have come forward to say that they were victims of abuse at the hands of 150 Scout leaders.
On Tuesday, the law firms of Greg Gianforcaro and Jeff Anderson & Associates released a list the names of 50 scout leaders who were accused of abusing minors in the state of New Jersey.
In 2010, the Boy Scouts were forced to pay $18.5 million in damages and release 20,000 documents. The organization is reportedly considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (BSA denies this), which could make it difficult for alleged victims to win compensation.