For years, the Boy Scouts of America have been under fire over child sex abuse allegations, and now there are thousands of pages of documents released showing just how many investigations and cover-ups there were.
Nearly 15,000 pages of so-called "perversion files" were released Thursday -- files compiled by the Boy Scouts from 1959 to the mid-1980s.
The Associated Press, which received advance copies of the files, reports the files show local Boy Scout leaders, police officials, prosecutors and mayors all helped keep numerous child sex abuse allegations against scoutmasters and other volunteers quiet.
"You do not keep secrets hidden about dangers to children," said Portland, Ore. attorney Kelly Clark, who released the files.
Clark won a landmark 2010 lawsuit in Oregon against the Boy Scouts on behalf of a plaintiff who was molested by an assistant scoutmaster in the 1980s.
Despite the bombshell report, the Boy Scouts of America says the organization has come a long way and is doing everything it can to move forward and protect children.
The files released Thursday, which were made available for download online, include 23 people from Minnesota, with several in the metro area. Seven cases involve Minneapolis troops, and five others crossed the river to St. Paul troops. The following metro cities also had one case each:
The documents contain the organizations own internal investigations, called the "ineligible volunteer" list.
"Once again, it's an institution focusing on image protection and not child protection," said attorney Jared Shepherd, who works for noted sex abuse attorney Jeff Anderson and is currently handling a handful of civil lawsuits against scout leaders.
Shepherd said his firm sees the release of the names as a victory for those who want to protect kids, but also shameful since so many known abuses were handled privately.
"It was irresponsible. It's not up for the Boy Scouts to determine whether or not a child abuser should be around children," he argued. "It's up for law enforcement to make that determination, and if they had access to that information, they should have shared that with law enforcement."
Since all of the cases released in the files are decades old, attorneys are now working to get the Boy Scouts of America to release records from the last 30 years as well.
MINNESOTANS IN BOY SCOUT PERVERSION FILES
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