Demographics and Statistics on the Boy Scouts’ Perversion Files for 1971 – 1991

Another investigative piece is currently on several television networks detailing the inner workings  — and failings – of the Boy Scouts of America’s “ineligible volunteer files.”  One subset of these files — known as the “Perversion Files” — include thousands of secret files kept at the national headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America from 1919 to the present about Scout Leaders alleged to have sexually abused children.

One interesting portion of this team’s investigation is the compilation of demographic information about the perpetrators in these files.  These include that:

  • The age range with the largest percentage of pedophile Scout leaders was those between 30 and 39
  • 48.7% of pedophile Scout leaders were single (with another 5.7% reporting to be divorced)
  • Less than 1/3 (only 31.6%) of pedophile Scout leaders reported having any children of their own

In terms of religion, “Trail of Betrayal” reported to following statistics for Scout Leaders accused of child sexual abuse:

  • Protestant:         28.4%
  • Catholic:               12.3%
  • LDS-Mormon:    5.6%
  • Jewish:                 1.5%

Regionally, the Trail of Betrayal team reports the following geographic distribution of reported incidents of sexual abuse:

  • Northeast:          21.4%
  • South:                   27.8%
  • Midwest:             25.8%
  • West:                    23.6%

One has to keep in mind that these files only represent the “tip of the iceberg” of the problem of child sexual abuse in Scouting.  But these demographics do give some insights into the profile of a predator Scout Leader, as well as the prevalence of the problem.



Peter Janci

Author: Peter Janci

One Comment for this Post
  • Bob in Oregon
    November 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

    These statistics DO NOT give real insights into the profile of a predator. Statistics without context aren’t helpful and can be misleading in case like this.

    For example, if you think because your scout leader is Jewish or Mormon, there’s less of a chance of perversion than with a protestant or “not affiliated” person, that would not be a valid conclusion. There are probably fewer Mormon or Jewish leaders, population wise, in scout leader positions. When adjusted, I bet that the rates of incidence across all religious faiths (or lack thereof) is probably similar.

    Likewise the regional results as reported don’t tell anything, but also would need to be adjusted based on scout membership / # of scout leaders. Regardless, the result is not going to help someone know if they are at risk, because you wouldn’t expect more pervs in one part of the country than another.

    Less than a third reported having no children of their own: I would have reported the opposite side, more than two thirds of pervs have children of their own, which is disgusting but should not be shocking. Regardless, if I see a scout leader who has children and is in his 30s, should I be more afraid based on this “profile”? If you look at the total # of people of this profile divided by total # of scout leaders, you’d probably have a low number.

    Please post this before people who fit the profile are demonized, and before people get a false sense of security if their leaders do not fit these profiles.

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