The startling and often heart-wrenching files of eight former Idaho Boy Scout leaders were released to the public today as part of what were called the "perversion files," thousands of pages of documents detailing how the Boy Scouts of America dealt with men who were accused of molesting children from 1965 to 1985.
Detailed files involving eight men from Boise, Meridian, Lewiston, Nampa, St. Maries, Thorton and Weiser included some handwritten letters from men who said they had been abused or molested.
Portland, Ore.-based attorney Kelly Clark redacted the documents and made them public after a judge ruled in June that the public had a right to see the files. The ruling was triggered by a 2007 lawsuit filed on behalf of a former Boy Scout who sued the Boy Scouts of America, saying the organization failed to protect him from the abuse he suffered as a young teen at the hands of his assistant scoutmaster in the 1980s.
"For the first time ever, the public will actually see, not just hear about, but see what the Boy Scouts knew about child abuse in their midst, and what they did and did not do about it," said Clark.
In one of the files involving a Canyon County-based scout leader, a boy wrote the following:
"The summer of 1977 I was twelve at Boy Scout Camp. ... [The scout leader] tried to get his hands down my pants. I knocked his hand away and rolled over. I was scared because of this and because he said there was something out there. He said it was a wolverine. ... He had been trying to scare me so we would come into the tent with him."
The letter was used in evidence in a trial where the scout leader admitted to engaging in sex acts with a Caldwell Boy Scout in 1982. The leader received a suspended sentence and was placed on 10-year probation. During the course of the investigation, Canyon County prosecutors interviewed 16 former scouts and documented an undisclosed number of cases in which the scout leader engaged in sex with juveniles, according to a July 1983 report in the Idaho Statesman.
The Boy Scouts of America waged a five-year legal battle to keep the documents away from public view, which led ultimately to this summer's ruling from the Oregon Supreme Court, ordering the files to be admitted into evidence in open court. The court ruled that the records belonged to the public and should be produced for public inspection.
In all, thousands of pages of documents contained in 1,200 files were released today.