Los Angeles – The Boy Scouts of America released a study Wednesday that claims children were safer from sex abuse in the Scouts than when at home or school.
The report was prepared by a psychiatric expert hired by the Scouts to review so-called “perversion files” kept by the organisation from 1970 to 1991.
A newspaper review of the files published last week said they showed scouting officials “failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public.”
In response, the Boy Scouts released what it said is an “independent review” by a University of Virginia psychiatry professor Wednesday, ahead of the “increased media attention” it expects with the release of more files.
“I believe that these files show that children in Scouting were safer and less likely to experience inappropriate sexual behaviour in Scouting than in their own families, schools and during other community activities supervised by adults,” Dr. Janet Warren wrote in her report.
The Los Angeles Times looked at 1,600 “ineligible volunteer” files obtained through a 1992 lawsuit in Oregon against the Boy Scouts, the newspaper said. The “perversion files” were a blacklist of alleged sexual molesters, it said.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a sex abuse support group, said it was “very upset” by Warren’s assertion that children were safer in the Scouts.
“That’s an unsubstantiated, self-serving claim that sounds more like the writing of a spin doctor than a real doctor,” SNAP Director David Clohessy said.
SNAP called on the Boy Scouts last week to oust any official still with the organisation who was involved in covering up child sex crimes.
The Boy Scouts, in a statement last week, said it “continuously enhanced its multi-tiered policies and procedures, which now include background checks, comprehensive training programs, and safety policies.”
The organisation’s current education and training programs to protect children from abuse “are among the best in the youth-serving community,” Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said. (CNN)