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Law firm releases Boy Scouts 'perversion files'

Thursday - 10/18/2012, 6:35pm  ET

AP: bdf4ec18-75ec-4eae-b9e9-1d1f51cb1ae8
In a Tuesday, Oct., 16, 2012 photo, Portland attorney Kelly Clark examines some of the 14,500 pages of previously confidential documents created by the Boy Scouts of America concerning child sexual abuse within the organization, in preparation for releasing the documents Thursday, Oct. 18, as he stands in his office in Portland, Ore. The Boy Scouts of America fought to keep those files confidential. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

Inside the Boy Scouts files

WTOP's Mark Segraves reports

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Mark Segraves, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - They're known as the "perversion files" by officials at the Boy Scouts of America who kept them secret from the public for decades. Now thousands and thousands of pages of internal documents detailing more than 1,200 cases are available for the public to review of confirmed and alleged cases of child sexual abuse at the hands of adult scout leaders and volunteers.

The documentation of 1,247 men who were expelled from the scouts over a 20-year period from 1959 to 1985 includes 56 men from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. A spreadsheet provided by the law firm that successfully sued the Boy Scouts on behalf of one victim shows the included in the files are 30 men from Maryland including several from Montgomery County, 24 men identified as living in Virginia and two District men.

The full list is available at the firm's website.

The documents reveal that many of the cases were never reported to local authorities and in some cases, the confessed or suspected pedophiles were allowed to return to the organization or simply resign.

Wayne Perry, president of the Boy Scouts of America, posted a statement on the organizations website:

"There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong. Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families," Perry wrote.

Attorneys for victims in several states are in court trying to obtain the release of similar records that detail abuse allegations from 1985 to 2010. The Boy Scouts of America fought in court to keep the earlier records out of the public domain arguing the release of the documents could discourage other victims from coming forward. The Oregon Supreme Court rejected their argument and allowed for the files to be released.

The files were central to a 2010 lawsuit in which the victim was awarded $18.5 million after a jury found the scouts did not protect him from a pedophile. Release of these files opens to door to future criminal charges as well as civil lawsuits against the Boy Scouts.

A request for comment from the Boy Scouts of America National Capitol Area Council has not been returned.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)