Boy Scouts Huddle With YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs on Anti-Abuse Strategy

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In the shadow of last month's disclosure of the so-called "perversion files," thousands of pages of documents detailing how the Boy Scouts of America had dealt with men accused of molesting children for two decades, the BSA held an unprecedented closed-door symposium Thursday with other national youth organization to share strategies for combating future abuse.

The Associated Press reports that the Boy Scouts of America gathered in Atlanta on Thursday with 10 other groups, including the YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to hear from the nation's top experts on abuse.

BSA was criticized for its lack of transparency in the wake of the Oct. 18 disclosure, which included files involving eight men from Boise, Meridian, Lewiston, Nampa, St. Maries, Thorton and Weiser. The documents included heart-wrenching letters handwritten by former scouts, who said they had been abused or molested by the men.

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 as 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 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 in October by Portland, Ore.-based attorney Kelly Clark after a judge ruled that the public had a right to see the redacted files.

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