The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has asked a California appeal court to overrule a Santa Barbara judge who ordered the youth group to turn over files dating back to 1991 regarding suspected sexual activity.
The case involves a Santa Barbara family suing the Scouts because a volunteer molested their 13-year-old son at a 2007 Christmas tree sale. The volunteer pleaded no contest to charges and later served a prison term.
In its request to the Second District Court of Appeal in Ventura for an immediate stay, the BSA said the so-called “perversion files” are irrelevant to the case and that Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna Geck was wrong when she ordered the scout organization to turn over the thousands of pages of files by May 9.
Tim Hale, attorney for the family, is seeking punitive damages against the BSA and says the secret files show a long history of keeping cases of molestation shielded from parents who have a right to know about possible dangers to their sons. Release of the files has “national implications,” Hale said. Hale already has nearly 2,000 such files, 1971-91, from another case.
“Once again BSA is misleading a court in order to preserve its policy of secrecy regarding sexual abuse within the organization,” Hale said today. “The most glaring example of this is BSA’s stock PR statement that ‘youth protection is of paramount importance to scouting.’ If this statement were true, BSA would take immediate action to correct the dangerous situation it has created for today’s children …
“The BSA should immediately report to law enforcement every BSA volunteer or employee accused of abuse who BSA has previously either failed to report or prevented from being reported to law enforcement.
“BSA also should notify the public of its actions, and issue a press release identifying the name of the person they reported, the dates and locations of the suspected abuse, and the contact information for the law enforcement agency where each perp has been reported. This will arm parents, volunteers, and the public with information they use to protect their children from sexual abuse.”