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Collateral Damage in the Boy Scouts’ Perversion Files for 1971 – 1991

By November 1, 2012June 23rd, 2020No Comments

Another investigative piece is currently on several television networks detailing the inner workings — and failings – of the Boy Scouts of America’s “ineligible volunteer files.”  One subset of these files — known as the “Perversion Files” — include thousands of secret files kept at the national headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America from 1919 to the present about Scout Leaders alleged to have sexually abused children east inflatables china.

“Trail of Betrayal” is an interesting look at the “Perversion Files” – including interviews with victims and their parents and deeper reviews of particularly egregious files.

Perhaps most noteworthy is the discussion about what might be called the “collateral damage” caused by the Scout’s “terrible failures” (in their own words).  The sad truth is, not only did the Scout’s failures hurt the boys and families in Scouting, it also hurt the boys and families in the community who looked to the Scout’s endorsement of a man as a Scout Leader as a sort of “seal of approval.”  As a result, when the Scouts failed to report a suspected abuser to the police (and let him quietly resign), that abuser was free to move on to another area or different youth organization with no one being the wiser.

For example, the “Trail of Betrayal” report identified the following list of individuals who sexually abused a child after the Boy Scouts of America had received a report of abuse and failed to report to police.  The report identifies the following individuals as falling into this category:

  • Andrew Purcell
  • Dennis J. Empey
  • George Diegelman
  • Giles Pelkey
  • John P. Treder
  • Michaal Eck
  • Michael Clapp
  • Paul S. Koefoot
  • Robbie Haskett
  • Robert L. Dewey
  • Robert Lambert
  • William Lazzareschi

We have known for some time that we will never be sure of the full extent of sexual abuse that occurred within Scouting – since the files are only the “tip of the iceberg.”  However, reports like this one remind us that any attempt to assess the true toll of the damage caused by the secrecy of the Boy Scouts of America will have to take into account the “collateral damage” to the lives of countless boys and families outside of Scouting.