Scouts Lose Appeal

Ordered to Release Molestation Files

A court has denied an appeal by the Boy Scouts of America, which sought to block release of thousands of pages of so-called “perversion files” related to a Santa Barbara molestation case.

In its denial this week of the BSA petition, the Second District Court of Appeal, meeting in Ventura, did not clarify its decision other than to point out that the national BSA molestation files dating to 1991 “are in the public domain and are readily accessible on the Internet with Social Security numbers redacted.”

BSA had argued that the files were irrelevant to the case, which involves a Santa Barbara family suing the Scouts because a volunteer, Al Stein, molested their 13-year-old son at a 2007 Christmas tree sales lot. The volunteer was convicted and served a prison term. The family’s attorney, Tim Hale, seeks punitive damages on grounds that the BSA had kept the files secret for many years, keeping parents unaware that their children were vulnerable in an organization where molestation occurs more frequently than the public realizes.

Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna Geck ordered the files released last January, resulting in the BSA appeal. The Santa Barbara Independent was unable to contact a BSA attorney for its comment and to ask whether the group would appeal to the California Supreme Court.

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