A lawsuit filed this morning alleges the Boy Scouts of America has known for the last 30 years that there were thousands of pedophiles operating within their camps and troops.
In secret documents — which the national council refused to share with its own local chapters and troops – the names and deeds of 6,500 known and suspected child molesters were maintained, according to the civil suit filed in King County Superior Court.
In addition to the still existing “perversion files” as they were called by the BSA, an additional 15,000 documents were destroyed, the suit claims.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 12 victims and names as defendants the national BSA, several local Boy Scout councils and churches and schools that sponsored the local troops. It names 13 alleged offenders, three of whom have been criminally prosecuted.
Timothy Kosnoff, one of the lawyers who filed the lawsuit, says it is the largest of its kind filed in Washington. It alleges that abuses occurred in the Boy Scout-operated Camp Brinkley, Camp Sevenich and Camp Omache in Snohomish County and two camps in Jefferson County between 1960 and 2006.
The youngest plaintiff is now 18, according to the suit.
Kosnoff said the BSA decision to ignore or hide information created a “petri dish” for abuse at the camps.
He said it is highly probable that more boys were victimized by troop leaders in scout settings than by any religious leaders due to the unique nature of the scouting mission. A number of other lawsuits with similar allegations have been filed in Washington over the past several years.
The BSA’s mission to match boys with adult males, often on week-long hikes and camping trips in remote areas , gave offenders unique and unfettered access to victims, the lawsuit alleges.