The Boy Scouts of America has identified more than 7,800 alleged child molesters in its “perversion files” dating back to the 1940s, a victims’ attorney told ABC News Tuesday ahead of a news conference to publicly name the accused.
“It alarmed us,” said Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson and Associates, the Minnesota-based firm that has also represented victims of clergy sex abuse. “The Boy Scouts of America has been maintaining “perversion files” on child molesters since the 1940s and they have kept them private and secret at their headquarters.”
The existence of the files has been previously disclosed but Anderson said he learned recently the Boy Scouts hired an independent investigator who has been auditing those files for the last five years. The expert revealed in recent court testimony the existence of more than 7,800 alleged offenders and thousands of alleged victims.
In most cases the Boy Scouts prevented the alleged child molester from being a scout leader but Anderson said the organization kept the identities secret so those people could still be otherwise involved in communities across the country.
“The peril is there,” Anderson said. “This felt like something we should sound the alarm on.”
Boy Scouts of America said in a statement “We care deeply about all victims of child sex abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.”