WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- Over the objections of the Boy Scouts of America, two lawyers in Oregon have just released 20-thousand pages of Scouting's so-called "perversion files."
The documents show the Scouts failed to report hundreds of child molesters to police -- and that the abusers sometimes went on to assault more children.
The scope of this is troubling. The L.A. Times has compiled the data into this map of the country. 1,247 yellow dots represent the molesters. If you scroll over, you get details of where and when they came under suspicion.
There are 40 cases from Virginia, 37 from Maryland, and two from DC.
Stories like Keith Early's are repeated over and over. Early and another boy abused by their scoutmaster. Early was just 12 years old. "I felt like I was all alone," says Early, who is now 18. "Just thinking about it makes me angry, because how do you do that to somebody? How could you bring yourself to do that."
Lawyers for victims released box after box of what the Boy Scouts call their "Ineligible Volunteer" files.They build on details already released. Cases like Arthur Humphries of Virginia, 50 years in scouting, commended by Presidents, recommended by scouting executives despite allegations of abuse. Even after he confessed, Scouting officials promised not to tell anyone about it.
Humphries was finally convicted of oral sex and sodomy -- on 20 boys ages 8 to 18.
"We are talking about hundreds, if not thousands of unidentified men who should be registered sex offenders who are roaming free in society," says Tim Hale, a lawyer for some of the victims.
The Scouts have been keeping the ineligible volunteer files since 1935. The documents released under protest cover the years from 1959 through 1985.
Lawyers are pushing the Boy Scouts to release more.
But the organization insists it's implemented new policies to protect children. Here's a statement from Wayne Perry, National President, Boy Scouts of America: "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 and sincere 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; administers comprehensive training programs for volunteers, staff, youth, and parents; and mandates reporting of even suspected abuse. We have continuously enhanced our multitiered 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. The 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 potentially dangerous individuals, and Scouting believes they play an important role in our comprehensive Youth Protection system."
But victims remains suspicious. "It's just such a loosely run outfit, I wouldn't feel comfortable letting my kid into it," says victim Keith Early.
Horrible stories jump out of the documents. Like the father who spotted the Scoutmaster who abused his sons at a Boy Scout jamboree -- even after the Scouts promised he would have no more contact with children.
There also seems to be a frightening generational legacy of abuse. One of the young scouts abused by Arthur Humphries went on to abuse other young children himself.
Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com