Legal look at looming wave of Boy Scout sex abuse claims

"These pedophiles, these rapists have slept well for decades..that's about to change."

April 23, 2019 - 9:04 pm

NEW YORK (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - On Tuesday, attorney Jeff Anderson held a press conference to discuss the grand scope of child abuse in the Boy Scouts that goes back decades.

According to the Boy Scouts of America "perversion files," the organization has documented 7,819 leaders as being accused of harming 12,254 victims between 1944-2016, according to expert testimony that stemmed from a sex abuse trial in January.

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Listen to the full press conference below:

Dr. Janet Warren, a professor at the University of Virginia Medical School, provided testimony at the January trial in Minneapolis, and she says that the Boy Scouts of America hired her to review the organization's Ineligible Volunteer files for Boy Scout leaders alleged to have sexually abused minors. However, until Tuesday, those names were kept a secret for decades, and Anderson says it's time for complete transparency and truth.

"The magnitude of the problem in the Boy Scouts of America is really grave," said Anderson in an interview with WBEN. "It's grave because they had a systemic practice at the national headquarters of keeping those files of every leader who molested or raped children across the country, and then they held those perversion files secret."

Local attorney Steve Boyd, who represents numerous survivors of child sex abuse, says this case very much resembles what has gone on in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and other places around the world.

"There was knowledge at the top that these things were happening, and there was a tendency to want to protect the corporation over the children," Boyd began. "They failed to protect the children despite what they say they stand for - both organizations - and because of that failure, thousands and thousands of children were victimized."

Boyd said he audibly gasped when he heard the actual number of abusers and victims.

"I can't imagine the Scouts had that many," he said. "This is important to say because this is their number. This is their perversion report; these are the people that they investigated and that they kept quiet about. So many people were victimized by these 7,800 pedophiles and rapists."

Listen to the full conversation with Boyd below:

In New York alone, there were 130 leaders who were named in the perversion files - 12 of whom have ties to Western New York

Anderson noted that this astounding revelation will put the recently-passed Child Victims Act to the test.

"The Child Victims Act in New York is really the chance for survivors to have their voice heard for the first time and the chance to do something to expose their offenders," said Anderson. "Because that law is now going to be put into effect, survivors now have the power to confront their offenders and the institutions that chose to protect the offenders. Ultimately, the community will be safer, and survivors will be given the chance to recover their power, get help, have hope and begin healing at the same time."

He then discussed what he wants to see come of the discovery of these files.

"I want kids to be protected, and I want the Boy Scouts of America to tell the whole truth, come clean with what they know and not withhold it anymore and any longer," he said. "Until the truth is known about where the risks are in the community, and who they know are the ones that have offended, kids are at risk in America."

Boyd added that it's time for abusers to be afraid of their victims.

"These pedophiles, these rapists have slept well for decades and the survivors have lost sleep for decades," said Boyd. "That's about to change. Now that the window is opening, those pedophiles are not sleeping as well as they did."

Listen to the full conversation with Anderson below:

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