Secret Scout files to be opened this week

Feb. 19, 2012 at 11:36 AM
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SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The Boy Scouts have until Friday to turn over records of sexual-abuse allegations to the parents of a Scout who was molested in 2007, a court order said.

Attorneys for the unnamed boy's family say the documents, which go back 20 years, will back up their contention that scout leaders were often protected by the organization even if they engaged in sexual abuse.

"They have created these ticking time bombs who are walking through society and nobody knows their identities except the Scouts," Timothy Hale, one of the lawyers for the Santa Barbara County family, told the Los Angeles Times.

The accused volunteer Scout leader spent some time in prison, but the family is seeking damages in a closely watched civil suit. The Times said the court order requiring the Scouts to turn over the records is the first time the organization's "ineligible volunteer files" have been made available.

The Scouts have steadfastly refused to open the files, which date back to the 1920s. The organization says making them public would violate the privacy of the alleged victims, and the files often include unproven allegations.

"These files exist solely to keep out individuals whose actions are inconsistent with the standards of Scouting, and Scouts are safer because of them," said Scouts spokesman Deron Smith.

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