Boy Scout "perversion files" reveal repeat child abuse by sexual predators

An investigative report by the Los Angeles Times shows that the the Boy Scouts of America has, for about a century, used a secret blacklist called "perversion files" to track sexual predators within the organization.

Scouting officials say they've used the files to prevent hundreds of men who had been expelled for alleged sexual abuse from returning to the ranks. They've fought hard in court to keep the records from public view, saying confidentiality was needed to protect victims, witnesses and anyone falsely accused.

"It is a fact that Scouts are safer because the barrier created by these files is real," Scouts Chief Executive Robert Mazzuca said in video posted on the organization's website in June.

A Los Angeles Times review of more than 1,200 files dating from 1970 to 1991 found more than 125 cases across the country in which men allegedly continued to molest Scouts after the organization was first presented with detailed allegations of abusive behavior.

So, if this is true: the BSA is not okay with LGBT participation, but more than a hundred known child molesters managed to operate within the organization, even after being identified as predators? Good to know.

Read the full article here: Boy Scout files reveal repeat child abuse by sexual predators -


  1. I bet I am on that list. I was a Scout for most of the 80s and early 90s. Never reached Eagle (did achieve OotA Vigil) but was highly involved with the local organization into my early adulthood. With the politics being played around me I tried to keep focused on making the program great for the boys. I knew I had stepped on a few toes and made some enemies. One day I got a call from the local executive. He had heard (through 3rd party sources) that I had made a public statement that I was gay. I denied such statement and he seemed okay with that. After mulling over the thought in my head I called him back and asked him what business of his was it if I was gay or not (this was before official policy was in place to bar gay men and boys from being in Scouting.) He claimed it was his job to find any gay members and get them out to protect other youth from predators. The next day he had my official resignation letter on his desk claiming that in no way would I want to be a part of an organization that witch hunts like this.

    1. To be clear – there’s maybe some ambiguity in what you wrote here.

      When you write “The next day he had my official resignation letter on his desk claiming that in no way would I want to be a part of an organization that witch hunts like this,” do you mean that you wrote a letter of resignation, in which you stated your objection to witch hunts?  Or do you mean that he had a forged letter of resignation that purported to be from you, but wasn’t?

  2. “… known child molesters managed to operate within the organization, even after being identified?”

    Actually, the excerpt says they were kept from operating within the organization: “used the files to prevent hundreds of men who had been expelled for alleged sexual abuse from returning to the ranks.”

    Maybe that will make more sense after I read the full article though.

    1. It is both. It seems they kept the list and it worked in some cases and did not in others, largely because of errors updating, communicating or even checking the list.

      1. And in yet other cases, allowed acknowledged molesters back onto the rolls with a note in their file.  Fantastic.

    1. Actually, they could have made it worse by making that list public. Nothing like stigmatizing people for being on a list compiled from … from what actually?
      If I interpret akbar56’s post correctly, then being suspected of being gay also counts as being a “predator”.
      I’m not quite sure how such an organisation should handle these things. You likely have many cases where you aren’t quite sure what’s up with someone or people are kind of testing the line between being close, a little too close, uncomfortably close in a bad way or outright molesting children, and you can’t really tell if it’s properly criminal or not, but you don’t want these people leading a group or such. So … you have nothing to put them in jail, but you don’t want to keep them in the organisation, but you don’t want to destroy their lives by speculating aloud, and you don’t want to answer uncomfortable questions in case something does happen … 

      I don’t think they got it right (especially regarding the definition of “predator”), but this is really actually a difficult thing to get right, contrary to the policy regarding gay members.

        1.  As an adult leader, my training used to say I report to the Council Executive, and then authorities.  Now, I think it’s the other way around, but the local council’s pages don’t say, even though the BSA materials say to follow the local rules.

  3. What concerns me most about their list of “sexual predators” is their insistence on secrecy and confidentiality. If leaders suspected or knew of sexual predators did they notify parents? Did they notify anyone in law enforcement? Or did they simply do what they could to make the problem go away as quietly as possible?

    1. Definitely sounds like the latter.  How Christian (Catholic Church) of them.

      “Predators slipped back into the program by falsifying personal information or skirting the registration process. Others were able to jump from troop to troop around the country thanks to clerical errors, computer glitches or the Scouts’ failure to check the blacklist.

      In some cases, officials failed to document reports of abuse in the first place, letting offenders stay in the organization until new allegations surfaced. In others, officials documented abuse but merely suspended the accused leader or allowed him to continue working with boys while on “probation.”

      In at least 50 cases, the Boy Scouts expelled suspected abusers, only to discover later that they had reentered the program and were accused of molesting again.”

  4. The BSA, above all, seems to find the basic idea of non-heterosexual identity icky. So, child molestors that self-identify as straight? No problem!

    1. I find it interesting that they’re so hell-bent on kicking out the people who are openly gay even though every single molester caught in their ranks so far self-identified as (or at least claimed to be) straight.

      1. And let’s not overlook the fact that in many cases they weren’t that quick to kick out identified molesters. A disturbing detail from the article is that some were allowed to continue serving “under probation”.

        It could be argued that these were the actions of individual troops and not organizational policy, but the only reason we know these details is because the organization kept files with this information.

      2. Isn’t that the standard ‘machismo’ exception to gay orientation? Men who are the ‘superior’ get to categorize themselves as straight? Ancient Romans and such? 

  5. BSA policy on gays at the national level is a sad black mark on a once (and future, I hope) proud institution, we all get that.  But I don’t get the point of  your post saying “So, if this is true: the BSA is not okay with LGBT participation, but more than a hundred known child molesters managed to operate within the organization, even after being identified as predators?”.   You fall into their dumbthink when you imply a relationship between being gay and being a child abuser.

      1. Nope, don’t see it.  Brainspore just reinforces the point that these two things are unrelated.  BSA screwed up these two different things (among others!),  but they’re different things.  Bringing them together in the same sentence implies a relationship between them which is just wrong.

  6. In the early 2000’s, a fellow by the name of John E. Robinson was charged and convicted of mass murder involving sado-masochism in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  His victims were young women who ended up in large oil drums.  He was a baseball coach, Sunday school teacher, and, yes, even a scoutmaster, too.  But at least he wasn’t gay.  Sheesh. . .

  7. If only there were some governmental organization with investigative and law enforcement powers they could have reported these abusers to. If only.

  8. “So, if this is true: the BSA is not okay with LGBT participation, but more than a hundred known child molesters managed to operate within the organization, even after being identified as predators?”

    How Catholic of them…

  9. The BSA can’t release this list. Either it’s completely lacking in homosexual names – both disproving their gay pedophile myth and showing how negligent they were in rooting out actual child abuse – or the list is filled with homosexuals who, by and large, are completely innocent (which is what I think is actually the case).

  10. I’m so surprised…  a group bent on claiming I am the cause of every evil thing, is revealed to be more evil than they say I am.  *blink*

    Men preaching from the pulpit about how I am a sinner and need to be locked up in a camp, who go out and do meth off a male hookers anatomy.

    A Church who covered up decades of abuse by its priests, trying to claim it was teh gays secretly sneaking in to ruin their good name.

    The BSA who kept their own secret files, to protect the “innocents”  which just so happened to make sure they were not rocked by scandal.

    I’m tired of being these “morally superior” groups scapegoat.

    It might be time they just admit they blame teh gays to keep everyone looking at that issue rather than looking at the inner workings of the groups.  That as loudly they scream I am wrong and deviant is most often a good indicator of how corrupt and morally decayed they themselves are.

    Pay no attention to the predator taking that boy behind the curtain, look at that homosexual who wants to teach scouts to tie knots!

  11. I’d love the see the Perversion files in the LDS, but I reckon the Mormons are even more secretive than the BSA or the Catholic Church.  And besides, when you’re a Mormon Church Elder, you can pretty much do anything.  Actually, Mitt Romney was a bishop in the LDS… did he help cover up pedophiles and child abuse too?  

  12. Um, where are the prosecutions for failure to report child abuse and obstruction of justice?

  13.  there is a correlation between being gay and being a gay pedophile.

    I would really appreciate it if you could clarify what you mean here. Because it sounds like you’re trying to make the tired, disproven, and frankly bigoted claim that we need to keep gay men away from boys, otherwise … MOLESTATION. 

    By the standard you seem to be setting up here, we should never let any adults around any children ever, because there’s always a possibility that one of them will be a pedophile and then … MOLESTATION. 

  14. Cut the critics some slack and read the article. The reason this is now news is because of a recent Oregon Supreme Court decision. Secret files the BSA has kept on known and potential predators in their midst are finally being released as the result of a lawsuit.

    And, yes, it is a hard problem to deal with, but if you’d read the article you’d know the BSA hasn’t always been as diligent as they should have been, allowing known predators to continue serving or to return to the organization, in some cases after they’d been in jail.

    As for buying stuff from the Scouts, if I choose to do that it’s one thing, but should the Scouts continue receiving federal money and being allowed to use public facilities such as schools even while they discriminate? Actually I think that’s a separate issue and is merely a distraction from what’s being discussed here, which is the BSA in some cases covering up sexual abuse.

  15. Um,

    While there is no correlation between being gay and being a pedophile, there is a correlation between being gay and being a gay pedophile.

    Is there actually a correlation between engaging in consensual relationships with adults of the same sex and engaging in predatory relationships with young children of the same sex?  Do you have a citation for that?

  16. there is a correlation between being gay and being a gay pedophile

    There’s also a correlation between being an air breather, and being an air breathing fish. Is it rational to assume that all air breathers are fish or are even slightly likely to be a fish? Or the reverse?

  17. The only correlation I see is that you need to be gay to be a gay pedophile.  The same way you need to be straight to be a straight pedophile.

    That’s pretty much all I got.  I’d like to see some clarification about this as well. 

    And, since I’m asking, clarification as to the tacked-on element of defending scouts at the market and their volunteers.  I hadn’t known this article or any of the comments to mention requesting anyone to do anything like this.

  18. I am pretty sure that pedophiles are pedophiles separate and apart from their “orientation.” Jerry Sandusky, for instance, was married to a woman but molested boys. He does not seem to have been a closeted gay man. He seems to have been a pedophile, full stop, and a straight man.

    This is one of the things that I think is confusing people about the Scouts stance. Keeping gays away from young boys is NOT keeping pedophiles attracted to young boys away from young boys.

  19. Completely concur.  I can’t defend his logic, only try to figure out his “correlation,” as I doubt he’ll be back to do so.

  20. @google-ac4071e66fa918dff3acfdc1c4eb221e:disqus , the point being made is that sexual orientation regarding adults doesn’t mean that the same preference exists regarding children. 

    It is therefore problematic to assume that openly gay men are more likely to abuse male children. Please also note that the cunning pedophile is unlikely to state the truth about their sexual orientation at the interview anyway, or they are rather unlikely to pass the selection process.

    (“Well, normally women Jack, but I do like to touch young boys every so often.”)

  21. Yeah, there doesn’t seem to be “gay pedophile” or “straight pedophile” just pedophiles (or any other of the differen age groups they like to go after). Perhaps some prefer small boys and other small girls… but it doesn’t seem like it has necessarily anything to do with their “adult” sexuality.

    Hmm… anybody seen any research about this topic?

Comments are closed.