More than 12,000 Boy Scouts have been victims of sexual abuse at the hands of 7,819 troop leaders and volunteers, according to long-held records known as the “perversion files” which show thousands of sexual abuse offenders that have been removed from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) over the years. Trial lawyer Jeff Anderson, revealed the abuse numbers based on the testimony of Dr. Janet Warren, at the University of Virginia’s medical school from a case earlier this year. The new testimony was entered into the court record as part of a trial about child sex abuse at a Minnesota children’s theatre company.
The BSA released a statement expressing sympathy to the victims. “We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting” the statement read. “Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in Scouting and we are outraged that individuals have taken advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children.” It is unclear if any potential lawsuits against the BSA will reap much by way of financial penalty. Last December the BSA was reportedly considering bankruptcy as membership plummeted and legal costs from defending itself against lawsuits mounted.
Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said that while there were “no imminent actions expected” the organization continued to examine the best way to carry out their mission while compensating victims of sexual abuse at the same time. “Throughout our history we have taken proactive steps to help victims heal and prevent future abuse” Surbaugh said. He went on to say that at no time have we knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth, and we always acted swiftly when alerted to abuse allegations,” he added. The BSA is one of the largest youth organizations in the country with more than 2.4 million participants and nearly 1 million adult volunteers.
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