Over 1,200 Boy Scout “Perversion” files on accused child molesters are now available to the public on-line.  These files, created between 1965 and 1985, were exhibits in a 2010 trial against the Boy Scouts in Portland in which the jury awarded just under $20 million to a man who had been sexually molested when he was 13 by his Scoutmaster.

In Part One of this series, I explained some of the background on these files, how the Boy Scouts tries to use them to minimize the problem of abuse of Scouts by adult volunteers, and why that argument is offensive as well as wrong.

In Part Two, I discussed one of the errors in the Boy Scout’s argument: The number of existing Perversion files does not represent the number of Scout volunteers accused of molesting children because the Boy Scouts have destroyed an unknown number of Perversion files over the years, and kept no complete record of the number of files created or destroyed.

The most significant reason why the BSA IV Files represent only the tip of the iceberg is because (except for a few possible exceptions) Scout families, Troops, and sponsoring organizations did not know the IV File system existed, how to use it, or that they should use it.

Typically, the national office of the BSA created IV Files based on reports from employees of Boy Scout Councils, usually the Scouting Executives of the Councils.  There was no BSA policy, method, or practice of involving the lower levels of the Scout organization in the IV File system.

In general, the sponsoring organizations and Troops did not know about or participate in creating an IV File on an adult volunteer accused of sexually molesting a Scout, although the people involved at the Troop level were those with the most immediate information.  The BSA only created a file if the matter happened to come to the attention of a Council employee—usually through news stories or law enforcement—and that Council employee knew to report the matter to the BSA, which many did not.

Because the national BSA never told troops or families about the IV File system or trained them to use it, it is estimated that the vast majority of abuse incidents in Scouting were never reported to the national office – meaning there would be no IV Files for these incidents.


Author: OandC

Email: 33@ocandcllp.com
11 Comments for this Post
  • Al Rossman
    October 19, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Full disclosure: I am an Eagle Scout and a previous Boy Scout Adult volunteer.

    Having been associated with scouting for many years, I was both curious and concerned. I searched to find a file from the city where I grew up… no luck. However, I did find a file from the city next to where I live today – 1118 for John Adcox Tillman in Highland Park, IL. I have looked at exactly one file, so it may not be representative.

    The first page [Confidential Record Sheet] references “Contributing to the delinquency of a minor”. The third page [Letter from council scout executive] mentions “alleged sex offenses”. Imagine my surprise when reading the letter from the Police Chief to find that Mr. Tillman had sex on the beach with a GIRL.

    She was an underage girl, and I am not condoning his actions. But I would expect that 99%+ of the public assume there are 1200+ cases of inappropriate homosexual-type behavior in these files.

  • Mindy
    October 19, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Like you, I went through the list to see if there were names of people from my town or nearby. These were the only files I read.

    In every one of the cases I read, the leader had intensely inappropriate behavior with scouts or (in one case) with a boy under the age of 16, which resulted in the man’s court-martial.

    You may want to read a few more files.

  • Alexander Burnett
    October 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

    The ediscovery field will take this data base and fill in the blanks over time through the use of techniques not readily available until recently. I suspect some very important heads are going to roll as the timing of this release seems a bit to convenient. If you are involved, we will find you and hold you before the burning light.

  • Wayne
    October 19, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I was a long time Scout Leader and a member of our Council District Committee. We had a District Executive (he was also the Camp Director at one of the local Scout Camps) that was named to us by several Boy Scouts that were on Camp Staff. In reporting the incident(s) to the Boy Scout Council Executive, it was supposedly followed up on but later slipped under the rug. The issue also went to the Regional Office of the Boy Scouts, and the results were “being handled internally and dealt with”. Supposedly there were no truths to the stories the boys were telling. Oddly enough, this same Camp Director/ District Executive was dismissed shortly after the allegations were made. The District Exec / Camp Director was soon moving out of the area to move to a new position in another Council, at least this is what the District Committee was told. After several years, it has been discovered that he was asked to leave the northwest and was reassigned to a Boy Scout Council on the east coast. He later was let go from Scouting. His name has resurfaced recently in this area and an investigation may be proceeding into the old allegations. I surely hope this incident is investigated thoroughly and found to ba a major cover up for those boys that were the ones to bring to light the issues they encountered.

  • Richard Thornton
    October 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

    As an Eagle Scout and summer camp staffer in the 1970’s, it is not news to me that there were gay men and youth in scouting. The shocking revelation is that the BSA kept files and monitored the behavior of people it suspected of “perversion,” and went as far as to refuse to allow some of them to register as volunteers. But not to report them to police, or to monitor the mental health of their victims, apparently. There are some file cabinets yet to be opened, I suspect.

  • Alan
    October 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I was molested for 2 years by my Scoutmaster in the 1970s and his name is not here. Seems her got away with it. Shameful It destroyed my life and I get no help.

  • Larry
    October 19, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    When I was at Scout Camp as a youth in the ’50’s, we went off site to some waterfalls and encountered a naked Rabbi, fondling himself on a rock, with his troop–all naked in the pond below the falls. He tried to get us to take our clothes off too. On declining the offer, he challenged us, “Are you afraid?”. To which we responded, “No, we just don’t want to take our clothes off.” We swam at the falls then left. The culture then was to ignore the incident, so nothing was reported.

    This is my 50th year as a volunteer. I’ve only had one inappropriate incident (other the one in the ‘50’s) to report… it involved youth-youth abuse and serious sexual harassment. I reported it to the event director. When nothing was done, I then, per policy, reported it to the Scout exec. It was handled IMMEDIATELY! And the event director was severely reprimanded. Thereafter, I was “brow-beaten” for going over the director’s head. I don’t regret that reporting for an instant.

    I am seriously disturbed by some of the accounts in the news, especially those involving professional staff that didn’t fulfill their duties in this regard. They should join the ineligible list with those they covered for AND face criminal consequences. They put all of us in a bad light and I’m totally disgusted with their misconduct.

    I taught Youth Protection for many years to both adult leader, youth and encouraged their parent to participate. One of the demonstrations that I used was to ask one of the adults if I could see their car keys. After getting them, I asked, “Can I borrow your car out in the parking lot for the weekend?” Without exception, they would answer, “NO!” I asked them to compare the value of the car they wouldn’t loan me to the value of the young man that they were “loaning” to their Scout leaders for the week-end. Bottom line was ALWAYS CHECK OUT THE SCOUT GROUP AS LEAST AS WELL AS YOU WOULD SOMEONE YOU WOULD LOAN YOUR CAR TO.

    It is a great disgrace that Boy Scouting had to abandon the “Safe Haven” that was promise to the youth. It’s now called the “Risk Zone”, instead.

  • George Fowler
    October 20, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I can verify, by one and possibly two, that the cases are under-reported. I called the Beverly, MA Scouts a while back trying to track down one of their Scout leaders. He came with his troop to the Scout’s Penobscot campground one summer. He liked blond boys.

  • Berwick
    October 20, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Re: Dewey Zeart

    Glad to see some action was taken against Dewey, even if it was minimal. As a youth I heard from other kids about Dewey’s activities at the Lanning Campsite outside of Nescopeck. Fortunately 3 scouts had the courage to speak up while many others remained silent. It was public knowledge Dewey had separated from the BSA, yet nothing ever was openly discussed about the reasons.

    While in the scouts in another troop I did wonder why we would go over to the Lanning campsite when it was no secret on Dewey’s activities there. Dewey and the campsite were synonymous long before he got caught.

    Ever since I was a kid riding a bike or later driving a car, I never went past Dewey’s house without thinking about the abuse and his subsequent slide into obscurity.

    Dewey was socially connected through marriage and I did wonder what role if any did that factor in the handling of the case.

  • Bill
    October 21, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I was molested 3 december 1966 / 67 The BSA Den was 222 on Albermarle Road, Brooklyn NY.
    How man y others have been “destroyed” by this pack of degenerates.

  • Traci
    October 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

    My father was a victim back in the 1950’s in the Chicago area. He reported it and his Troop adults (including his parents) chose to pray for the abuser – who was known to the boys for his unusual interest in them – rather than report him. Thank God he met my mother who helped him understand that HE did nothing wrong, rather the adults in his life failed him. The abuser continued in scouting and was given a Distinguished Service Award in the 1970’s and my brilliant grandparents had the nerve to ask my father to attend the ceremony. He didn’t… My dad is a wonderful man who has overcome his abuse and made sure that he didn’t become bitter, nor let it cloud his opinion of scouting. He became an Eagle Scout and has served as a scout leader sharing the positive components of this program with his family and others.

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