NEW YORK (CBS) — There are stunning new claims of sex abuse that have surfaced against the Boy Scouts of America. Alleged victims and their attorneys are demanding the organization hand over internal files they say detail more than 7,000 abuse cases dating back to the 1940s.
“When we got this info we had to sound the alarm,” said attorney Jeffrey Anderson, a longtime advocate for sex abuse victims.
Anderson cited recent testimony from a woman he says was hired by the Boy Scouts to look into their so-called “Perversion Files,” which is documentation of possible abuse dating back to the 1940s. He says it sheds new light on the magnitude of the problem.
“She revealed to us to our shock and dismay that there are 7,819 perpetrators in these files,” said Anderson.
Anderson says there are also more than 12,000 cases of possible child sex abuse that have surfaced.
Attorneys say a pamphlet holds the names of at least 130 scout leaders accused of wrongdoing over the years in New York alone. Some 50 more individuals are being accused in New Jersey, including troops in Cherry Hill, Collingswood, Hammonton and Atlantic City.
“We care deeply about all victims of child sex abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in scouting,” the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement. “At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement.”
Anderson says changes coming to statute of limitation laws in New York this summer will make it easier to prosecute such cases.
The “Perversion Files” refers to a list compiled over decades by the Boy Scouts and released by that Oregon Supreme Court of names that Scout officials had determined to be ineligible volunteers.