Thousands of pages of newly-released documents show that for decades, scoutmasters and others who were accused of molesting children were protected by police, prosecutors, pastors and local Boy Scout leaders.
At the time, those authorities justified their actions as being necessary to protect the good name and good works of the Scouts.
But the nearly 15,000 pages of "perversion" files that were released today reveal that they were allowing sexual predators to go free while victims suffered in silence.
There are many cases from right here in Central New York, including several from Syracuse. You can search through the cases online.
The files are part of a much larger collection that the Boy Scouts of America began keeping soon after the organization was founded in 1910. The files were released by order of the Oregon Supreme Court.
They include details of a 1965 case in Louisiana, in which a mother told sheriff's deputies that a scoutmaster had raped one of her sons and molested two others. Days later, the scoutmaster confessed. But a decision was made not to pursue charges against him.
A Louisiana Scouts executive wrote to the organization's national office, saying that the man wasn't prosecuted "to save the name of Scouting."
CNYcentral reached out to the Longhouse Council, which is in charge of scouting in central and northern New York. They released the following statement:
"The release of the national abuse files from 1965-1985 reminds us that constant vigilance must be taken to protect our youth. The current policies of the BSA and Longhouse Council are viewed as the gold standard of youth protection for a volunteer organization. Every adult leader undergoes a background check, must take mandatory Youth Protection Training and practices two-deep leadership. The era in question was a different time. Education, public awareness, best practices and technology help ensure the safety of local youth in Scouting today."
The Longhouse Council represents 7,000 youth and 3,000 leaders in a six-county area of central and northern New York.