Syracuse (WSYR-TV/AP) -- Boy Scouts are known for badges of merit and leaders now have to pass criminal background checks. But for years, the Boy Scout organization hid boxes of dishonor – more than 20,000 internal records of scoutmasters and volunteers accused of inappropriate conduct with boys and some of them happened here in Central New York.
A trove of so-called “perversion files” have been made public. The documents
show that in many instances, an array of authorities – including police chiefs, prosecutors and pastors – helped cover up allegations of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts. The documents are dated from 1959 to 1985.
NewsChannel 9 found that several of the cases are tied to Central New York. According to a map provided by the LA Times
, which marks where the alleged abuse occurred, many cases were cited in cities throughout Central New York – only a handful had supporting documents (see attached).
On Thursday, the Boy Scout organization issued an apology:
“There’s no question that there are times in the past and these go back to 40-50 years, where we did not do the job that we should have. For that, and for the people hurt, we are profoundly sorry,” said Boy Scouts of America National President Wayne Perry.
The Longhouse Council, which administers boy scouting in Central New York also released a statement in regard to the files:
"The release of the national abuse files from 1965-1985 reminds us that constant vigilance must be taken to protect our youth. The current policies of the BSA and Longhouse Council are viewed as the gold standard of youth protection for a volunteer organization. Every adult leader undergoes a background check, must take mandatory Youth Protection Training and practices two-deep leadership. The era in question was a different time. Education, public awareness, best practices and technology help ensure the safety of local youth in Scouting today."
The Boy Scout organization did not institute mandatory reporting for suspected child abuse until 2010. They did, however, incorporate other measures, such as a "two-deep" requirement that children be accompanied by at least two adults at all times, and made strides in their efforts to combat pedophilia within their ranks.
The documents show that in many instances the files succeeded in keeping pedophiles out of Scouting, but often times they did not.