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Boy Scouts 'perversion files' made public

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When cases against Scouts volunteers or executives went forward, locals often tried and sometimes managed to keep the organization's name out of court documents and the media, protecting a valuable brand.

In Johnstown, Pa., in August 1962, a married 25-year-old steel mill worker with a high school education pleaded guilty to "serious morals" violations involving Scouts.

The Scouting executive who served as both mayor and police chief made sure of one thing: The Scouting name was never brought up. It went beyond the mayor to the members of a three-judge panel, who also deemed it important to keep the Scouts' names out of the press.

"No mention of Scouting was involved in the case in as much as two of the three judges who pronounced sentence are members of our Executive Board," the Scouts executive wrote to the national personnel division.

In Rutland, Vt., in 1964, William J. Moreau pleaded guilty to "having lewd relations" with an 11-year-old Scout, according to a contemporary newspaper account. According to the files, the 11-year-old was one of a dozen Scouts who stayed overnight at Vermont's Camp Sunrise. The Scouts, as is demonstrated repeatedly in the files, talked to the parents about their concern for "the name of the Scouting movement" if charges were brought, but were rebuffed - the parents were insistent on filing charges.

Moreau, a 27-year-old insurance adjuster and assistant Scoutmaster, resigned his position, but a local prosecutor and the police department made sure the Scouting name was never publicly associated with the crime, despite the fact that the abuse was conducted by a Scoutmaster on Scouts at a Scout camp.

"The States Attorney with whom I talked late last night and the local police assure me they will do everything in their power to keep Scouting's name and Camp Sunrise out of this," a local Scouts executive wrote in a letter to the national council headquarters.

In newspaper clippings attached to the files detailing Moreau's charges and his plea, no mention of the Scouts is ever made.

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