Allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of Boy Scout leaders are in the thousands, according to Jeff Anderson & Associates.
The Manhattan-based firm claims the Boy Scout of America kept a list of abusers from the public, something the organization denies.
"When we got this information, we had to sound the alarm," Anderson said Tuesday.
- The offender list includes nearly 8,000 Scout leaders
- BSA leaders said in 2018, there were only five known abuse victims of the 2.2 million youth in the program
- In 2011, the Scouts commissioned Dr. Janet Warren, a researcher on crimes against children, to analyze how sexual abuse is handled within the organization.
The offender list includes nearly 8,000 Scout leaders
Anderson said of the out of the thousands included in the so-called “Perversion Files,” 130 alleged perpetrators were from troops in New York.
"We are outraged that there have been times that individuals took advantage of our program to take advantage of our program to abuse innocent," said Chief Scout Michael Surbaugh. "We do not keep any reports of sexual abuse secret or hidden from the proper authorities."
Scout leaders said in 2018 there were only five known abuse victims of the 2.2 million youth in the program.
In 2011, the organization commissioned Dr. Janet Warren, a researcher on crimes against children, to analyze how sexual abuse is handled within the organization.
"The rate of reported abuse in the BSA program is far less than the rate of sexual abuse of children in society as a whole," Warren said. "Most importantly this data shows that the BSA used protection efforts since the 1980s have been highly effective in preventing abuse.”
Warren had access to the ineligible volunteer files or perversion files for five years. They include anyone thought to not be fit to lead children, regardless of whether they were arrested or convicted of a crime. The database was adopted in the 1920s, according to the Boy Scouts of America.
"The bad news is this is far from a full disclosure of what the Boy Scouts actually knew," said Jeff Anderson. "The Boy Scouts need to come clean and inform the communities who these people are today."
Buffalo's Crisis Services runs the New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence hotline.
Ashley Amidon, a supervising counselor, said she expects calls to increase.
"Historically, men haven't been given space to talk about these things, have emotions or really express when they've been violated in certain ways, or their vulnerabilities,” she said. “We hope to see in the coming years a culture shift to that safe place.”
Since the Child Victim's Act has passed, survivors can now seek damages beginning this August.
The Boy Scouts of America are offering free counseling to victims. The organization is also pushing for a youth service national registry.
They believe that will reduce the risk of offenders moving within the BSA and from one organization to the next.