Tents in Boy Scout camp

Why Are We Just Learning About The Widespread Sexual Abuse Of Boy Scouts?

As public awareness of the widespread sexual abuse of Boy Scouts grows, many are asking why we are just now finding out about decades-old allegations. The simplest explanation is that the Boy Scouts of America didn’t want us to know. 

Instead of prioritizing public safety and the welfare of Scouts, the BSA acted to protect its reputation. Since its founding, the BSA has known that child predators were attracted to the organization. Beginning in the 1920s, the BSA began keeping files on adult leaders and volunteers who committed various crimes and offenses. These files were originally called the Red Flag Files or the Confidential Files. Today, they are referred to as the Ineligible Volunteer or I.V. Files.

The I.V. Files include information on BSA staff and volunteers who have been accused of six categories of offenses — Moral, Financial, Leadership, Theft, Criminal, and Perversion. The largest category by far is Perversion. The Perversion Files, or “P Files” as the BSA internally refers to them, contain the names of scoutmasters, volunteers, and BSA staff accused or convicted of molesting or otherwise sexually abusing Boy Scouts. 

Thanks to the work of Attorney Paul Mones, these files are now public documents, which can be accessed by clicking here.

The P Files reveal that the BSA didn’t just keep tabs on suspected abusers, in some cases the organization actively hid what had happened to children in its care. The Los Angeles Times did a deep dive into the P Files when they were first released and highlighted some of the most shocking cases:

At a Rhode Island Boy Scout camp in 1971, a scoutmaster discovered a 12-year-old boy performing oral sex on an assistant troop leader, William Lazzareschi, behind a tent.

“Mr. Lazzareschi made me do it to him,” the young Scout told officials, according to the file.

Lazzareschi “admitted his role in the act” and said he’d never done it before, the file states. He was expelled from Scouting and told to stay away from the boy. Nothing in the file indicates the Scouts called police.

The records do show that the boy was counseled “with positive results” by the Rev. Edmond C. Micarelli, the camp’s Catholic chaplain.

“Upon Father Micarelli’s recommendation, the parents were not notified,” a report states.

In another case, the police were aware of a Scout Leader’s vile acts, and chose to help the BSA keep the case quiet.

When a Los Angeles Scout leader was caught by police with hundreds of photos of naked Scouts in 1984 — many showing him giving enemas to boys — Scouting officials worked closely with police and the county children services department to keep the case from becoming public and embarrassing the Scouts.

A summary of a meeting between Scouting officials and local agencies contained this conclusion: “We recognize that this unfortunate situation was no reflection on the Boy Scouts of America whose integrity and reputation must be maintained.”

Instead of being trustworthy, loyal, and helpful, the BSA was sneaky and self-serving. The organization’s actions make it just as guilty as the pedophiles it protected. The BSA’s moral bankruptcy has led to financial bankruptcy. The organization is setting up a trust to compensate all of the victim-survivors with potential legal claims against it. If you suspect that includes you, please contact Attorney Paul Mones or a member of his team to discuss your case.