- More than 12,000 Boy Scout members were victims of sexual abuse, with nearly 8,000 Boy Scout leaders accused, over a span of seven decades, according to an expert on child sexual abuse.
- That expert, Janet Warren, a professor at the University of Virginia, disclosed the reported abuse while testifying as an expert witness in a trial in Minneapolis earlier this year.
- Jeff Anderson, an attorney who regularly represents sexual abuse victims, publicly described Warren’s findings this week – an explosive blow to an organisation already ensnared by sexual misconduct allegations over the years.
- Up until this point, the Boy Scouts of America have yet to publicly release the names of the accused, Anderson said at a press conference.
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An explosive finding by a child sexual abuse expert has revealed that more than 12,000 Boy Scout members were victims of sexual abuse over a timeframe spanning more than seven decades.
Janet Warren is a professor at the University of Virginia and an expert on child abuse. She disclosed the reported abuse while testifying in a trial regarding child sexual abuse allegations at a children’s theatre in Minneapolis in January. Earlier this week, Jeff Anderson, an attorney who regularly represents sexual abuse victims, publicly detailed Warren’s findings.
For the past five years, Warren was on “private contract” with the Boy Scouts of America to evaluate its handling of sexual abuse between 1944 and 2016, using data from files referred to as the “perversion files.” Almost 8,000 individuals have been alleged of abusing the Boy Scout members, according to Warren’s testimony.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Anderson said that 130 Scout leaders in New York were allegedly accused of sexual misconduct. It is not clear whether accused individuals are still alive or if the claims against them have been confirmed. The passage of the Child Victims Act earlier this year in New York will extend the statute of limitations in the state so victims from any time period can press charges related to the sexual abuse.
Anderson intends to file multiple lawsuits against the Boy Scouts, according to NBC New York, but must wait until August when the new law takes effect.
“Nobody would have listened to me,” James Kretschmer, a 56-year-old who said he was groped at a Boy Scouts camp while in middle school, told USA Today. “The problem is, then you think, ‘Is it something I did? What was I doing, was it my fault? If I hadn’t done whatever, he wouldn’t have done that.’ It took me years to realise it wasn’t that little child’s fault. It was the adult who had control.”
The Boy Scouts issued a statement, provided to INSIDER, in response to the allegations, saying that they “sincerely apologise” to anyone who was harmed as a Boy Scout.
“We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice,” the statement said, adding: “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.”
This isn’t the first time that the Boy Scouts have faced scrutiny: news broke in December that the organisation was considering bankruptcy while fending off various sexual misconduct lawsuits. In 2012, some of the files regarding sexual abuse allegations were made public after an Oregon Superior Court ordered the public release of the records, with more than 15,000 pages detailing accusations of sexual abuse against 1,247 scout leaders.
That same year, The Los Angeles Times also established a database with information on around 5,000 people who were expelled from the organisation between 1947 and 2005 on suspicion of sexual abuse. The data released this week divulges that thousands of more people in the ranks of the organisation have been accused of sexual abuse.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Anderson said that up until this point, the Boy Scouts have yet to release the names of the accused to the public.
“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,” he said, according to NBC News. “That is the real alarming fact that needs to be mentioned today. It’s systematic and across the country.”
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