The letter comes after the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the Boy Scouts to release "ineligible volunteer" files from 1965 to 1985 that chronicle suspected or confirmed instances of child sex abuse. Media organizations had sued for the release of the files, part of a 2010 case in which a jury decided that the Scouts were negligent for allowing a former assistant scoutmaster to associate with the organization's youth after he admitted molesting 17 boys in 1983, court records show, according to The Associated Press.
Some 829 of the files from that time period (Jan. 1, 1965 to June 30, 1984) involve suspicions or confirmations of inappropriate sexual behavior with 1,622 youth, according to a report by Dr. Janet Warren, a professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia, for the Boy Scouts. The report, released Tuesday, was completed in 2011.
"Dr. Warren's report shows that, as part of our broader Youth Protection program, the BSA's system of ineligible volunteer files functions to help protect Scouts," Wayne Perry, national president, Tico Perez, national commissioner, and Wayne Brock, chief Scout executive, said Tuesday in an open letter to the Scouting community. "However, we also know that in some instances we failed to defend Scouts from those who would do them harm. There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong.