(O'Donnell, Clark & Crew also says the files are just the " tip of the iceberg.")
The law firm also issued an important disclaimer about the database: many of these files only document allegations that have not been proven in a court of law.
The information in the IV ["Ineligible Volunteer"] files concerns allegations of child sexual abuse. In a number of the cases, the allegations were later substantiated by court proceedings. However, in a great many cases no such substantiation ever occurred. ..
In fact, we are in no position to verify or attest to the truth of these allegations as they were compiled by the Boy Scouts of America. The incidents reported in these documents attest to notice of potential child abuse given to the Boy Scouts of America and its affiliates and their response to that notice.''
The LA Times has also put together what it's calling "a larger and slightly more recent batch of files —1,900 cases opened on suspected child abusers from 1970 to 1991." The Times writes:
In hundreds of cases, the newspaper found, the Scouts failed to report abuse to authorities and many times covered up allegations to protect the organization's reputation. The Times also found that dozens of men who were expelled on suspicion of sexual abuse managed to reenter the organization only to face new allegations.
Locally, the San Francisco Chronicle reports "at least two dozen of those attacks [happened] in the Bay Area.
In the Bay Area, the documented incidents ranged from a scoutmaster in Sunnyvale coming on to a boy during a camping trip to an assistant scoutmaster in Fairfield molesting 13 boys during visits to his home or the troop's meeting place.
"Today is a very important day, a good day," said John Buckland, who was one of the 13 boys abused in Fairfield. "For nearly 30 years they had me and tons of us locked away in a little box somewhere with dust on the lid, but today with the release of all these papers we get to have our say."
Buckland, now 42 and living in West Virginia, was 14 in 1984 when he belonged to a troop at Travis Air Force Base. His case came to light when Air Force authorities came to his home one night and showed his parents lewd photos of him and the 12 other victims that had been taken by their abuser.
The assistant scoutmaster, then-Sgt. Curtis Knarich, 24 at the time, was court-martialed for the molestations and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. But Buckland said he still hurts knowing the Boy Scouts never contacted him to apologize.
"Don't get me wrong - Scouting itself is a great concept," he said. "But if you're going to have a great concept, you have to have great protections in place.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports the following:
Boy Scout officials and parents in Sonoma County expressed dismay Thursday at new documents that revealed decades of sexual abuse, but expressed confidence that changes within the organization have made it a safe place for children.
The Press Democrat article also details some of the rules the Scouts have put in place to help prevent abuse.
KQED's Aarti Shahani today talked with Anthony DeMarco, a Pasadena attorney representing four brothers whose San Jose Scout leader allegedly molested them back in the 1980s.
The brothers, now in their 40s and 50s, opened up about the abuse only after the perpetrator happened to move into their neighborhood.
"When they're abused as children they do their very best to try to bury it," said DeMarco. "And when this man comes into their community, now all of a sudden it's right in front of them again. But now they have children of their own, families that they're around. And their able to look at what happened to them through an adult set of eyes and understanding that it wasn't their fault."
A San Jose appeals court dismissed the case, citing California's statute of limitations.
So what do the Boy Scouts of America have to say about all this? Here's the statement from the organization's president, Wayne Perry:
There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong. Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families.
While it is difficult to understand or explain individuals’ actions from many decades ago, today Scouting is a leader among youth serving organizations in preventing child abuse. The BSA requires background checks, comprehensive training programs for volunteers, staff, youth and parents and mandates reporting of even suspected abuse. We have continuously enhanced our multi-tiered policies and procedures to ensure we are in line with and, where possible, ahead of society’s knowledge of abuse and best practices for prevention. BSA’s standards and relentless focus on youth protection have been recognized and praised by experts in child protection - including Victor Vieth, a former prosecutor who heads the National Child Protection Training Center.
Experts have found that the BSA’s system of Ineligible Volunteer Files functions well to help protect Scouts by denying entry to dangerous individuals, and Scouting believes that they play an important role in our comprehensive youth protection system.
The Scouts also say that "today, any adult who wants to join Scouting must pass a criminal background check" and that "scouting policies require prompt reporting of any inappropriate conduct."