LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands of previously unpublished Boy Scouts of America files that detail suspected sexual abuse by employees and volunteers have been posted online.
The Los Angeles Times published the database containing redacted victims’ names on Tuesday, including material that was released earlier by an Oregon Supreme Court judge’s ruling. The names of the alleged abusers — including doctors, teachers, priests — are included.
The newspaper’s heavily pocked database map depicts alleged incidents of abuse that affected, or in some way connected to, Scouts in every state in the nation, as well as South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
The Boy Scouts kept the files for internal use for nearly a century and have said they’ve improved youth protection policies. The group has conducted criminal background checks on volunteers since 2008. In 2010, the organization mandated any suspected abuse be reported to police.
In an analysis of the records, the Times found that reports increased over time, which may be the result of greater awareness of child sexual abuse. The reports are not believed to account for all abuse, because the Scouts say an unknown number of files were destroyed over the years and not all victims report crime.
The organization’s inaction, and its efforts to keep allegations from police, parents and the public, allowed molesters to continue sexually abusing children, according to The Times.
The newly released files span from 1985 to 1991, and reveal that a Scouts committee chairman of four years, Samuel J. Becker of Canoga Park, had a record of child molestation, had served prison time and was on probation for exposing himself.
In another file, a Scoutmaster said he had reported suspicions of abuse about Scout Leader Gary L. Findlay of Illinois, but he was ignored by a superior. Findlay was later accused of abusing a 15-year-old in 1986, convicted of sexual abuse and expelled from the Scouts.
Most of the files opened after 1991 haven’t been released. Various pending lawsuits were seeking those files.