Lawsuit: Boy Scouts silence put youth at risk

File photo

File photo

A fight over the release of decades of files collected by the Boy Scouts on its volunteers suspected of sexually abusing children is playing out in Georgia courts.

On one side are former Scouts who allege the national organization's refusal to make public what have become known as the "perversion files" helped fail to prevent the sexual abuse they say they suffered as boys and teens at the hands of their scoutmasters.

IN-DEPTH: In sex abuse cases, Boy Scouts forgo transparency

Their claim of a conspiracy of silence is the crux of a lawsuit filed last week against a former Athens scoutmaster who allegedly molested a dozen or more Scouts and other boys between the 1950s and 1970s.

“(I)nstead of making information publicly available or reporting it to the appropriate authorities, defendants kept silent while actively soliciting new Scouts when they knew without doubt that many Scout Leaders had been credibly accused of pedophilic/ephebophilic tendencies,” states the lawsuit against Athens businessman Ernest Boland, who died in 2013.

He's joined other alleged victims to file a lawsuit against a local troop and church.

The Boy Scouts contend that confidentiality must be maintained to protect the victims. The alleged cases of molestation, it says, also happened more than 40 years ago in some cases and that comprehensive policies and procedures that serve as “barriers to abuse” have since been put in place.

For more on the legal showdown and its potential ramifications, read the full story on