Thousands of pages of once-private records detailing sex-abuse allegations within the Boy Scouts of America from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s were made public by a court in Oregon on Thursday, including internal reports of alleged child molestations by more than 1,200 scoutmasters and other adult volunteers nationwide.

The records, formally called the Ineligible Volunteer Files but commonly known among Boy Scout officials as “the perversion files,” were submitted under seal in 2012 as evidence in a sex-abuse lawsuit in Oregon. The state’s highest court ordered the documents released under Oregon’s open records law.

“Unlike previously released summary information on the existence of the files, the files released (Thursday) contain every document associated with each case, including handwritten notes and internal communications between Boy Scout executives,” the Oregon law firm O’Donnell Clark & Crew said in a prepared statement.

There were 53 Maine cases referenced in summary information released previously. Among them are eight Maine cases for which files are now public.

The 14,500 pages include records indicating that eight scouting officials from Maine were banned. The cases detail concerns and allegations and sometimes convictions against Maine scouting volunteers.

The files include information about Hazen James Currier, now 69, a Lebanon man who worked with several youth organizations, including a New Hampshire shelter for troubled teen boys where he was accused in 1980 of engaging in a sexual relationship with one of the teens and making sexual advances toward others.

A social worker from New Hampshire’s Department of Health of Welfare made the Boy Scouts aware of the accusations and Currier’s registration was suspended. The man had asked for a review of his suspension. He denied the accusations and said there were teens at the center who had threatened to get back at him for disciplining them.

The files contain paperwork about Gene Vincent Graves, now 77, a Mars Hill man who was a post advisor for the Boy Scouts in 1964 before being placed on the list of those banned from leadership after he was convicted of “illegal possession of obscene literature” and indicted for “indecent liberties” though the disposition of the case is not included. The files include no specifics about the charges.

Harold E. Bailey, a Bucksport scoutmaster now 88, was banned from scouting and included in the files in 1978 after his conviction for unlawful sexual contact and sexual abuse of a minor. The notes by scouting officials say the man has sex with several boys in his troop.

In 1977, William Boyd Brown, a scoutmaster from Westbrook who would now be 69, was dismissed and put on the ineligible volunteer list after he was convicted of unlawful sexual contact on a 14 year old girl. A decade later, with no new criminal convictions, he asked to again become a Boy Scouts volunteer. He was allowed ot register on a probationary status.

David J. Brunette, a Kittery scout volunteer who would now be 68, was banned from the organization in 1983 when he was charged with sexual assault on a 13-year-old boy Boy Scout and giving the boy alcohol. There are multiple charges in multiple locations, including at a campsite in New Hampshire.

Brunette was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexual misconduct with a minor, according to the files. However, newspaper clippings afterward showthat themost serious convictions were overturned on appeal and he served two six-month sentences for child endangerment. Years later, court files show he also was convicted of possessing child pornography.

The cases also include Alfred Conrad, a scoutmaster from Augusta, who was dismissed in 1984 after being convicted and sentenced to five years in prison on a morals and sodomy charge. Another case involved Fred A. Cram, a scouting volunteer in Casco who was convicted of unlawful sexual contact in 1984.

An eighth case involves Frederick Maitland, now 80, who lived or volunteered in Cumberland. It makes reference to a newspaper story out of Massachusetts in 1981 involving allegations against him, but the material is not specific and copies of the clipping are not illegible. It also says the charges were dismissed. He tried to register again with the scouts in 1988, though it’s unclear whether he was allowed to.

The names of alleged victims were redacted before the files were made public.

“Many of these crimes happened years ago, of course. But many of those who committed and concealed them are still around and walking free,” said Barbara Dorris, outreach director for SNAP, in a prepared statement. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has become a leading voice for child sex abuse victims. “Law enforcement officials should use their skills, resources and ‘bully pulpits’ to urge victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward immediately so that at least some of these wrongdoers can be prosecuted,” she said.

“We applaud these brave men who found the courage to step forward, reveal their abuse and take legal action to help themselves and others,” Dorris said. “Virtually everything we know about the abuse and the cover-ups in scouting have been because of the victims not scouting officials.”

The Oregon firm represented six former scouts who alleged in the 2010 lawsuit that they had been sexually abused by a scout leader in the 1980s. The Boy Scouts of America, which lost the case, was ordered to pay the plaintiffs nearly $20 million.

Thursday’s release of records followed a series of stories by the Los Angeles Times describing a decades-long culture of secrecy within the Boy Scouts in its handling of sex-abuse complaints against adult volunteers.

After reviewing thousands of internal Boy Scout records introduced as evidence in court cases across the country — before the Oregon files were made public — the newspaper cited hundreds of incidents of alleged sexual abuse since the 1960s, many of which apparently were not reported to police by Boy Scout officials.

Adults accused of molesting boys were often compelled to leave the Boy Scouts under the guise of being too busy with jobs or other activities, according to the Times. Many volunteers who were expelled for suspected sex abuse were able to slip back into the program, the newspaper reported.

The Boy Scouts adopted a policy in 2010 requiring local scout leaders to report sex-abuse allegations directly to police. Previously, such accusations were reported up the Boy Scouts’ chain of command. The allegations often were handled confidentially within the organization, with alleged abusers gently forced out, the Times said.

“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,” the national president of the Boy Scouts, Wayne Perry, said in a prepared statement Thursday.

“Where those involved in scouting failed to protect, or, worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest and sincere apologies,” he said.

Eric Tarbox, who was hired in July as scout executive for the Portland-based Pine Tree Council of Maine, representing 10 counties, said, “Any time this type of behavior toward a child is detected, it’s reprehensible. … We are extraordinarily distressed for the children who have been hurt by this.”

Tarbox said he has worked in scouting for 17 years all over the country and has had to contact law enforcement to report suspected child abuse.

That hasn’t happened during his tenure in Maine, but he said troop leaders and volunteers are instructed to report any suspicions of child abuse to police or the state’s Office of Child and Family Services.

He said prospective scout leaders and volunteers across the nation must undergo rigorous criminal background checks and complete youth protection training.

The Pine Tree Council has more than 3,000 volunteers. By the end of 2012, it expects to have about 10,000 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in its programs.

The Katahdin Area Council, based in Bangor, has more than 3,400 participants, said its scout executive, Marshall Steinmann.

“We do everything we can to keep our kids safe,” said Steinmann, including a relatively new policy that prohibits any adult volunteer from being alone with a scout.

Cub Scouts are 7 to 10 years old, while the age range for Boy Scouts is 11 to 18.

Many of the cases detailed in the Oregon files already had been cited in an online database created by the Times based on its earlier research.

The database includes information on about 5,000 people, mostly men, who were kicked out of the Boy Scouts for suspected sexual abuse from the late 1940s through the mid-2000s.

Staff Writers Dennis Hoey and David Hench contributed to this report.

 


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