LOS ANGELES - A newspaper investigation has found the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of suspected child sex abusers to authorities and often helped cover up the accusations over two decades.
The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that a review of 1,600 of the organization's confidential "perversion" files dating from 1970 to 1991 revealed that leaders often helped suspected molesters push the allegations under the rug.
The newspaper found that in about 400 cases, there is no record of the Scouts reporting cases to police after parents, boys and staff members notified leaders.
In a statement, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith says the organization today requires members to report any suspicion of abuse directly to local authorities and has always fully cooperated with police.
The L.A. Times provided an example of the alleged coverup, writing:
In 1982, a Michigan Boy Scout camp director who learned of allegations of repeated abuse by a staff member told police he didn't promptly report them because his bosses wanted to protect the reputation of the Scouts and the accused staff member.
"He stated that he had been advised by his supervisors and legal counsel that he should neutralize the situation and keep it quiet," according to a police report in the file.