IRVING (KRLD) – The family of a Santa Barbara Californa boy say the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America is trying to cover up thousands of cases of sexual abuse dating back to 1991. The BSA is prepared for a fight.
“Our understanding is there are going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,500 to 4,000 files for for that period for ’91 to the present. Each one of those files represents a separate perpetrator who the scouts received word or notice of was committing childhood sexual abuse,” said Santa Barbara attorney Tim Cole.
Cole and the California family are trying to force the Boy Scouts to hand over thousands of confidential files on reported sexual assaults from 1991 to present.
It’s part of a negligence lawsuit that began in 2007 when a 450 pound scout leader in Santa Barbara California assaulted the 92 pound boy. The attacker, Al Steven Stein, pleaded no contest to criminal charges in connection to the case and served prison time.
But Hale says the Scouts have refused to turn over the files and are expected to appeal the judge’s decision.
“The end result of that secrecy is you’ve got all these unidentifiable perpetrators who are roaming the streets. Who have never been reported who have never been criminally prosecuted and as an end result are not registered sex offenders.” he said.
For its part the Boy Scouts of America declined to answer questions but denied the allegations in a statement:
“Youth protection is of paramount importance to Scouting. Our policies require that any suspicion of abuse be immediately reported to law enforcement and to Scout executives, at which point the accused individual is immediately removed from Scouting and added to the BSA’s Ineligible Volunteer Files. These files exist solely to keep out individuals whose actions are inconsistent with the standards of Scouting, and Scouts are safer because of them. These files are one part of our multi-layered youth protection system, which also requires training and education for everyone involved with our organization and clear policies that prevent one-on-one contact between youth and adults.” the statement says.
Cole wants none of it, contending the records will serve the public.
“We hope at the conclusion of this litigation to be able to release that information the public so that the public have a report they can turn to whether the public is a parent or a scout volunteer or some other childcare custodian.”