Over 1,200 Boy Scout “Perversion” files on accused child molesters are now available to the public on-line. These files, created between 1965 and 1985, were exhibits in a 2010 trial against the Boy Scouts in Portland in which the jury awarded just under $20 million to a man who had been sexually molested when he was 13 by his Scoutmaster.
In Part One of this series, I explained some of the background on these files, how the Boy Scouts tries to use them to minimize the problem of abuse of Scouts by adult volunteers, and why that argument is offensive as well as wrong.
In Part Two, I discussed one of the errors in the Boy Scout’s argument: The number of existing Perversion files does not represent the number of Scout volunteers accused of molesting children because the Boy Scouts have destroyed an unknown number of Perversion files over the years, and kept no complete record of the number of files created or destroyed.
The most significant reason why the BSA IV Files represent only the tip of the iceberg is because (except for a few possible exceptions) Scout families, Troops, and sponsoring organizations did not know the IV File system existed, how to use it, or that they should use it.
Typically, the national office of the BSA created IV Files based on reports from employees of Boy Scout Councils, usually the Scouting Executives of the Councils. There was no BSA policy, method, or practice of involving the lower levels of the Scout organization in the IV File system.
In general, the sponsoring organizations and Troops did not know about or participate in creating an IV File on an adult volunteer accused of sexually molesting a Scout, although the people involved at the Troop level were those with the most immediate information. The BSA only created a file if the matter happened to come to the attention of a Council employee—usually through news stories or law enforcement—and that Council employee knew to report the matter to the BSA, which many did not.
Because the national BSA never told troops or families about the IV File system or trained them to use it, it is estimated that the vast majority of abuse incidents in Scouting were never reported to the national office – meaning there would be no IV Files for these incidents.