For immediate release: Oct. 8, 2012
Seattle attorney releases list of 1,900 alleged Boy Scout child sex-abusers in advance of upcoming Oregon court-ordered release of records
Attorney Tim Kosnoff: ‘The Public Will Demand Better Safety Measures When They See What’s in These Files’
(SEATTLE, WA) – For nearly a century, the Boy Scouts of America has quietly compiled the names of thousands of accused child molesters within its ranks. The Scouts says it has maintained the records, known as the “perversion files,” as part of a decades-long effort to keep tabs on bad leaders and prevent abuse. Victims’ advocates, however, say the Scouts has done little to warn youngsters about the risks of encountering predators. For perspective: The Boy Scouts of America’s internal files document some 20,000 alleged pedophiles over the past 100 years; Penn State’s sexual-abuse scandal earlier this year involved one sex offender.
Today, Seattle attorney Tim Kosnoff released to the public for the first time the Boy Scouts’s own internal list of 1,900 accused sex-abusers, in advance of a court-ordered release of the files by the Scouts itself within the next week or so. Kosnoff posted the list on his web site, Kosnoff.com.
Kosnoff said the safety of children is too important for this information to be kept under wraps.
“The public will demand better safety measures when they see what’s in these files,” Kosnoff said. “If someone were to ask me if I’d enroll my child in the Boy Scouts, I’d say that I couldn’t in good conscience recommend it. I can’t say it’s a safe organization.”
Last summer, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the Scouts had to hand over thousands of documents from 1966-1985, detailing sex-abuse allegations against scout leaders from across the country. Kosnoff’s records detail information on alleged abusers in scouting from 1949-2005, the result of years of work on behalf of more than 100 clients he has represented in cases against the Scouts.
For years, the Scouts has fought disclosure of its “ineligible volunteer” files to the courts, saying it wanted to protect victims. Kosnoff said altruism doesn’t tell the whole story of the Scouts’ actions, as the youth-serving organization over the years has destroyed thousands of its own records but still has more than 6,000 records in its possession. Kosnoff himself has spent more than a decade battling the Scouts in cases that included seeking release of secret files.
In his work as a trial attorney, Kosnoff gathered 65,000 pages of documents over many years and from a variety of sources, including court cases and those who had access to the Scouts’ database. Kosnoff then spent several years compiling indexes and analyzing the materials. His 1971-1991 index identifies 1,932 volunteers expelled for alleged inappropriate sexual conduct with children. His 1949-2005 index contains file information on 3,200 additional adult volunteers expelled for alleged misconduct with children. Kosnoff made annotated notes on thousands of alleged perpetrators and shared this information with the Los Angeles Times in Spring 2011. This information resulted in a recent series of investigative articles by the Los Angeles Times.
Kosnoff said he’s releasing his indexes of accused perpetrators but won’t release the actual files, which contain the un-redacted names of victims.
Among the trends Kosnoff has seen in Scouts “ineligible volunteer” files:
▪Predatory adults, who seek out scouting for access to victims.
▪Admitted or re-admitted adult scout volunteers previously caught abusing children or scouts.
▪Adult scout volunteers, who abuse multiple scout victims, not just one victim.
▪Serious criminal convictions and prison sentences documented among the Scouts’ list of ineligible volunteers.
▪Adult scout leaders who possess and/or produce child pornography.
▪Adult scout leaders who were allowed unfettered access to kids, permitting them to sleep in the same tent.
▪Adult scout leaders, who sexually abused kids on camping trips or on unsupervised outings outside of scouting.
▪ Patterns of grooming behavior, such as trust-building, isolation, discussion of sex, followed by abuse.
▪ Adult volunteers alleged to be pedophiles associating with other alleged pedophiles.
▪ Some youth sexually abused in scouting, who went on to become sexual abusers themselves.
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