Cub Scouts from the 1920s
Photo credit: Paul Townsend

Boy Scouts Scandal: Staggering Rates of Sexual Abuse Come to Light

Court documents outline alleged sexual abuse cases that number 10 times greater than previously thought.

Nearly 8,000 Boy Scouts troop leaders and BSA volunteers allegedly abused more than 12,000 young scouts, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

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That astonishing figure adds grim detail to a sexual abuse scandal that first came to light almost a decade ago. In 2010, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that internal BSA documents — known within the organization as “perversion files” — would be made public. Those records, comprising some 14,000 pages, listed about 1,200 suspected pedophiles affiliated with BSA and abuse of more than 1,000 Cub and Boy Scouts, according to reports.

But on Tuesday, an attorney litigating a Minnesota sexual abuse case released documents that show much higher rates of molestation within the 109-year-old organization.

Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse Rates

According to the documents, BSA retained the services of Dr. Janet Warren, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia’s medical school. Warren reviewed BSA’s perversion files and advised the organization on its handling of sexual abuse allegations dating all the way back to 1944.

Warren testified in Minnesota court that her team identified 12,254 victims and 7,819 perpetrators from the files, dating from 1944 to 2016, ABC News reported.

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The shocking details of abuse within BSA come on the heels of upheaval within the organization in the last few years.

Earlier this year, BSA began admitting girls into its ranks for the first time ever. And last year, BSA and Church of Latter Day Saints announced the two organizations would end their century-old affiliation. Many speculated that decision stemmed from BSA’s decision to admit and support openly gay Scouts and troop leaders.

Following the release, BSA issued a statement apologizing to victims and expressing “outrage” at the abuse within its ranks:

“We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice. Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in Scouting and we are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children.”

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.