Calif Supreme Court won't let Scouts conceal files
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Boy Scouts of America said it will release two decades of sex-abuse allegation files to attorneys in a lawsuit after the California Supreme Court refused a bid to keep the records confidential.
The court last Thursday rejected an appeal to halt the release of files from 1991 and later that contain allegations of molestation by Scout leaders, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
The decision came after a Santa Barbara County court ruled last year that the files must be turned over to attorneys representing a former Scout who claims a leader molested him in 2007, when he was 13. That leader later was convicted of felony child endangerment.
The former Scout's lawsuit claims the files will expose a "culture of hidden sexual abuse" that the Scouts had concealed.
The organization has denied the allegations and argued that the files should remain confidential to protect the privacy of child victims and of people who have been wrongly accused.
"The BSA will comply fully with the (court) order, but maintains that the files are not relevant to this suit" and they won't be made public unless they are used as evidence in the case, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said.
The files are covered by a court protective order and cannot be made public unless they become part of the open court record.
"Our hands are tied, and we are forbidden to publicize the files," Timothy Hale, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
He urged the Scouts to turn over the files to law enforcement and publicly identify people accused of abuse.
Similar files from 1965 to 1985 were made public in October by order of the Oregon Supreme Court.
The Boy Scouts kept the files for internal use for nearly a century and have said the organization has improved youth protection policies.
The group has conducted criminal background checks on volunteers since 2008. In 2010, the organization mandated any suspected abuse be reported to police.
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