CHICAGO (CBS) – The private Boy Scout files disclosing that dozens of leaders in the organization sexually abused young men includes cases from the Chicago area.
Under a court order, the Boy Scouts of America released a trove of information that includes the names of more than 1,200 scout leaders and volunteers accused of abusing children between the 1960s and 1980s.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller Reports
Kelly Clark, the Oregon attorney who fought to have the files made public, said the Boy Scouts created a list of ineligible volunteers that dates back to 1920s.
There are more than 70 cases from Illinois. The earliest is 1960, the latest 1985.
They include Gwenn Hale and Paul Scott Koefoot, both accused of sexually abusing scouts in the Chicago area. Both are now serving time in prison.
A closer look at a case from Naperville in 1983 shows a scout leader admitting to sexually molesting a boy. But he was not turned over to authorities. Instead his name was added to a file; a letter from the Scouts said “the reason for it will be maintained as confidential.”
The Boy Scouts say the purpose of the files was to keep child molesters out of the organization. But abuse victims, including Tom Stewart say the files did not protect them.
“I do want to speak for all the victims that can’t speak for themselves,” he said. “Scouting does have some good points. However, right now it’s a very dangerous program for young boys.”
“To the extent that we fell short of protecting a youth, and we did fall short in some instances, we are profoundly sorry,” Wayne Perry, president of the Boy Scouts of America, said.
In another case in 1961, a 23-year-old Boy Scout leader was accused of molesting a Scout and “giving ‘sex instructions’ with personal exposure” and “disciplining Scouts by beating with all clothing removed,” according to records.
WBBM’s Steve Miller reports, the Boy Scouts placed the leader in its “confidential file.”
Then, later, the documents say he registered as a Scout leader in Roseland using a slightly different name.
And soon, the mother of a Boy Scout accused the leader of molesting her son.
The Scout documents say, “because of the lack of corroboration … (the man) was allowed to continue as Scoutmaster.”
Later, other mothers got involved – and went to police.
The notation at the bottom of the Boy Scout report from 1965: “All efforts were made to prevent adverse publicity of any kind.”
Critics accuse the Boy Scouts of creating the files to protect the organization from negative publicity. Lawyers have been trying to get the Scouts to release the files since 1985.