The Boy Scouts of America plans to report the names of suspected child abusers contained in its historical files to law enforcement agencies across the country.
The Boy Scouts battled media organizations — including Oregon Public Broadcasting — to block the release of the names. These are people identified in the Boy Scouts’ files as as suspected abusers. The courts ordered the files to be made public. The Scouts is blacking out some information. But the documents are about to be released.
Portland attorney, Kelly Clark, represents abused children. He says he’s pleased the Scouts will inform law enforcement about suspected abusers.
Clark says, “Obviously they’ve never done that before and in fact the files typically show that they’ve done the opposite, which is that they’ve tried to prevent incidents from being reported to law enforcement. So in and of itself it is a significant change.”
In a report made public last week, the Scouts says it always required members to follow their state laws concerning the reporting of abuse of children. Scout spokesman Deron Smith says the files helped protect children by identifying ineligible volunteers. However, he also says that in some instances the organization failed.