Lawyers for BSA Abuse Victims Applaud Canadian Boy Scouts’ Apology and Public Airing of Records, Challenge American Scouts to Do the Same Regarding Secret “Perversion Files” on Abuse in Scouting.
Portland, Oregon, Dec 9, 2011.
The nation’s two top lawyers for those sexually abused in Scouting today applauded the apology issued yesterday by Canadian Scout officials to all who were sexually abused in Scouts Canada, as well as the announcement that Scouts Canada would do a comprehensive review and public airing of all its internal records on abuse.
Attorneys Kelly Clark and Paul Mones of Portland, Oregon, who are handling nearly three dozen sexual abuse lawsuits against Boy Scouts of America in over a dozen states in the US, and who last year won a jury verdict against the BSA for nearly $20 million on behalf of an Oregon man sexually abused in Scouting in a case that featured for the first time ever the introduction of 20,000 pages of secret “perversion” files—internal records kept by BSA concerning child abuse in its organization—issued the following statement:
“That Scouts Canada recognizes the need of many survivors of abuse for a direct and unconditional apology, and sees the value in public airing of the internal records concerning abuse is noteworthy and laudable. True apologies can help healing for those abused as children, and so this apology is welcome. We also hope and expect that the records review and public airing will be done in a straightforward and open manner. Child abuse thrives in secret, and secret systems are its soil, and so opening the records to the public is an important first step in public accountability.
Yet, in the weeks after the Penn State scandal has once again showed the world what happens when child abuse stays secret, we note today the utter irony of the contrast between what Scouts Canada is doing to open its secrets, as opposed to what Boy Scouts of America is doing to keep its secrets. Even as Scouts Canada announces its plans to do a review and public airing of its records, Boy Scouts of America continues to fight the public release of its own internal files—the very same evidence that was introduced into evidence last year in Portland, and which the Portland jury used to render its verdict—by maintaining its appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court of the trial court’s ruling that the secret files are now public record. So we call upon the Boy Scouts of America to follow in the footsteps of Boy Scouts Canada, issue an unconditional apology to all who were abused in Scouting, and open the secret files to the public.”