RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Boy Scout organizations across the U.S. were doing damage control Thursday night.
A court ordered the release of what are called the group’s "perversion files," 20-thousand pages of confidential sex abuse allegations between the early 60's and 1985.
Some of the accused are from the Metro Richmond area. Fifteen, in fact. That's how many scout leaders from the area are listed in these documents, outlining alleged sex abuse within one of the world’s most trusted organizations.[BONUS: Click here for the complete list]
Legal expert Todd Stone says for the accused from Virginia, it could pose a problem if they are still alive.
“Regarding the offenders, there's no statute of limitations when it comes to felonies in Virginia,” Stone said. “If this discloses new evidence, the victim can push to prosecute."
The Boy Scouts of America says a third of the cases were never reported to police. National President Wayne Perry released a statement acknowledging, "in certain cases our response to the incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate or wrong. Where those involved in scouting fail to protect or worse inflict harm on children, we extend our deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families.”
Local scout leaders say policies have changed drastically from the time frame in question.
“New policies are in place where scouts will never be left alone or even ride to a scouting function with just one adult leader,” said Brad Neisheim, CEO of the Scouts’ Heart of Virginia Council. “[The children] will never be alone."
Boy Scouts of America also maintains none of these files was ever kept a secret. I went to several of the addresses for those local scout leaders listed in the files, but had no luck finding any of them.
So, will the release of the files open the door for victims to launch lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America? Todd Stone says yes, if the victims decide to go that route.