Firm reviewing Scouts Canada sex cases

Dec. 10, 2011 at 2:23 PM
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OTTAWA, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Scouts Canada says an outside consulting firm has started sifting through the scouting organization's records of sex abuse allegations.

Scouts Canada Chief Commissioner Steve Kent told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. KPMG received the files from about 350 cases within the past two weeks and is expected to come back with a public report early in the coming year. However, he said the firm will be given as much time as necessary to go over the materials thoroughly.

"Some of these files are 65 years old so the information's not always complete, [and] the files are not always consistent in format," Kent said.

Scouts Canada this week issued a blanket apology to any youths who were molested by the scouting organization's leaders and said an expert panel would review its child protection policies. It also said it is willing to lift confidentiality agreements it has with some sex abuse victims.

Scouts Canada also has initiated phone lines and counseling services for sex-abuse victims, Kent said.

Kent said protecting the privacy of third parties may affect decisions to lift confidentiality clause conditions.

"We don't want to prevent any of those people from telling their stories, if that's helpful in their healing, if they believe that that can help others then we want to do what we can to enable that," Kent told the CBC, whose investigation led to the extent of the sex abuse cases being revealed.

Don Wright of the British Columbia Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse said the decision regarding confidentiality agreements is "very significant because it's the secretive nature of the abuse which is one of the most damaging aspects of it."

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