Oregon Sex Abuse Case Documents Out 7 Scout Leaders in Alaska

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This week the Boy Scouts of America publicly released more than 14,000 pages of the previously confidential so-called “perversion files.” The records name 1,200 alleged perpetrators across the country. The files show that seven scout leaders in Alaska used their position of power and trust to abuse children in five communities. The men named in the files volunteered with troops in Juneau, Fairbanks, Kotzebue, Ketchikan, Homer and at Eielson Air Force Base, between 1965 and 1985.  Steve Crew is an attorney with the Portland law firm – O’Donnell, Clark & Crew – that brought the case against the Boy Scouts all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court, forcing the release of files containing the names of the alleged perpetrators.

“These files were in what they call their ineligible volunteers. These seven scout leaders were removed from scouting because they sexually abused boy scouts. And so they were kicked out but they were never turned over to law enforcement. And I don’t believe the parents were ever told about this, so it was basically hidden,” Crew said.

Crew says the Boy Scouts kept the information in their so-called ‘perversion files’ – a set of files detailing individual incidents of alleged sexual abuse. The documents released this week were the centerpiece of a 2010 trail in which attorney’s proved that the Boy Scouts of America knew for decades that they had an institution-wide problem with sex abuse, but hid it from the public. The case ended with a jury verdict of nearly $20 million against the Boy Scouts on behalf of a man abused as a boy by a scoutmaster. The files, Crew says, reveal that, in the majority of cases, the Boy Scouts did not share information it gathered about abuse with law enforcement, and that abusers were often able to relocate, work in scouts again and continue abusing children. Clifford Crismore is the current CEO at Boy Scouts of America, Great Alaska Council in Anchorage. He says the Scouts started scrutinizing volunteer applications more closely in the 1980’s.

“We don’t process it until they’ve completed youth protection training which is our policies on how the interaction between youth and adults occur. For example, one on one activity is prohibited. There always has to be two adults on the activity. Once they’ve taken the youth protection training, we do a criminal background check. And if for whatever reason something comes up on the criminal background check, we can deny them membership at that time,” Crismore said.

Crew says his firm is working to make the remaining files from 1985 to 2012 public, but Crismore with the scouts, says he expects there to be far fewer cases because of the Scouts’ more stringent policies.

Attorneys with O’Donnell, Clark & Crew say there is still one case pending concerning a volunteer who led a scouting troop in Anchorage in the 1970’s. The perpetrator in that case is not listed in the files released. Attorneys say that Scout officials destroyed approximately half of all files in the mid-70’s. If the remaining case goes forward, the trial will be held in Anchorage. Alaska does not have a statute of limitations felony sexual abuse cases.

Alaska-Related Abuse Files:

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage.

Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email.

Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.

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