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Boy Scouts 'perversion files' made public

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With the deadline to disclose the files looming, the Scouts in late September made public an internal review of the files and said they would look into past cases to see whether there were times when men they suspected of sex abuse should have been reported to police.

The files showed a "very low" incidence of abuse among Scout leaders, said psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Warren, who conducted the review with a team of graduate students and served as an expert witness for the Scouts in the 2010 case that made the files public. Her review of the files didn't take into account the number of files destroyed on abusers who turned 75 years old or died, something she said would not have significantly affected the rate of abuse or her conclusions.

The rate of abuse among Scouts is the not the focus of their critics - it is, rather, their response to allegations of abuse. In the case of the files released in Portland, most salient is the complicity of local officials in concealing the abuse by Scouts leaders.

Warren told the AP such complicity "was simply quite a natural desire to want to be somewhat protective over (the BSA)."

Certain cases, well-detailed by the Scouts, illustrate how it happened.

In Newton, Kan., in 1961, the county attorney had what he needed for a prosecution: Two men were arrested and admitted that they had molested Scouts in their care.

One of the men said he held an all-night party at his house, during which he brought 10 boys, one by one, into a room where he committed, in his words, "immoral acts." The same man said he had molested Scouts on an outing two weeks prior to the interrogation.

But neither man was prosecuted. Once again, a powerful local official sought to preserve the name of Scouting.

The entire investigation, the county attorney wrote, was brought about with the cooperation of a local district Scouts executive, who was kept apprised of the investigation's progress into the men, who had affiliations with both the Scouts and the local YMCA.

"I came to the decision that to openly prosecute would cause great harm to the reputations of two organizations which we have involved here - the Boy Scouts of America and the local YMCA," he wrote in a letter to a Kansas Scouting executive.

He went on to say that the community would have to pay too great a price for the punishment of the two men. "The damage thusly done to these organizations would be serious and lasting," he wrote.

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