Congratulations to the California Supreme Court for making an important step forward for victims of sexual abuse in Scouting and rejecting the Boy Scouts of America’s appeal to keep yet more of its Ineligible Volunteer Perversion files secret. In 2011, a Santa Barbara County court ruled that twenty years of BSA’s modern Perversion files, spanning 1992 to the present, detailing allegations of child sexual abuse, should be turned over to the attorneys representing a past Scout that was sexually abused by his Scout leader in 2007. BSA fought the trial court’s ruling all the way up to the California Supreme Court, which ultimately declined to hear BSA’s appeal of an appellate court’s order refusing to overturn the trial court’s order to produce the files. Currently, the files are under a protective order in the case, and BSA refuses to make them public. Unfortunately, BSA continues to fight the release of their Perversion files in cases throughout the country.
This California ruling follows the Oregon Supreme Court’s decision in June 2012, upholding the trial court’s decision from Lewis vs. Boy Scouts of America, Case No. 0710-11294 to release twenty years of BSA’s Perversion files to the public, spanning 1965 to 1985. This firms represented plaintiff Kerry Lewis in that case, and made those files publicly available for the first time ever on October 18, 2012. You can view all of those files here.
The recent California Supreme Court’s ruling is a step in the right direction. BSA, however, needs to go one step further to release its modern Perversion files to the public and law enforcement, especially so that law enforcement may investigate these allegations. Transparency and accountability — by seeing their abusers prosecuted where possiblt and BSA taking responsibility for its own actions—can be critically important for victims’ healing process.