Judge will wait, see on Boy Scouts files
Organization wants sex abuse allegations heavily redacted
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
PORTLAND -- An Oregon judge will review six sample "perversion files" maintained by the Boy Scouts of America while he decides whether to agree with their request for extensive redactions, a delay in a ruling to make the files public that was first ordered in 2010.
The 20,000 pages of files containing sex abuse allegations from 1965-1985 were introduced as evidence in a landmark lawsuit in Portland against the Boy Scouts because of the abuse of several youths by an Oregon Scout leader. The Scouts lost the lawsuit in an April 2010 jury ruling.
The Oregon Supreme Court said in June that names of victims and people who reported the crimes should be redacted.
Judge John Wittmayer said Tuesday in Portland that he wants to review the sample files as part of the Scouts' request to remove names of other Scouts, parents and volunteers.
The Scouts argue that the redactions they're asking for won't affect the court's order and will protect people from undue embarrassment or retaliation.
"The point of the release of the files is to show how one organization in the past dealt with complaints of child sex abuse," Scouts attorney Thomas Dulcich said. "The names of the youth, the names of the volunteers, won't change how the organization dealt with the issue."
The files contain accusations against Scout leaders ranging from child abuse to lesser offenses that would prohibit them from working in the Scouts.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case and media organizations seeking the files said the Scouts' requested redactions would "gut the value" of the files.
"The perversions files operate in a secret system, and this court has already decided that the secret system is over," plaintiff's attorney Kelly Clark said.