Boy Scout files include cases of abuse in Georgia - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Boy Scout files include cases of abuse in Georgia

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ATLANTA -

Secret files released on Thursday suggest widespread child abuse within the Boy Scouts of America, including dozens of cases in Georgia.

More than 15,000 pages were made public as part of a 2010 lawsuit against the Scouts in Oregon.

Critics say the release of these decades-old files shed light on years of secretiveness and cover-up. But the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America disputes that notion, saying the files have long been an effort to protect the boys in the Scouts.

The Oregon Supreme Court ordered the release of the files, which identify more than a thousand scout leaders and volunteers who were banned from the group after being accused of sexual or inappropriate conduct with boys.

(CLICK HERE TO SEE THE DOCUMENTS)

Many of these allegations were not made public, until now; hardly any of them were ever even prosecuted.

One attorney, who says he represents about 100 men who were abused as Scouts, says half of them now have drug or alcohol problems because of the abuse. Three, he says, have committed suicide.

Many of the files contain accounts of the abuse, handwritten by the victims. However, no victim or witness names are included in these documents.

FOX 5's review of the records shows more than 80 cases in Georgia alone from 1963 to 2002, with dozens of cases in the metro Atlanta area.

"We do maintain these files because it's important that we keep these files to make sure that dangerous people don't get near our children," said Jeff Fulcher of the Atlanta Area Council of Boy Scouts.

Fulcher said that all Scout leaders, volunteers and staff are required to take safety training.    

Last month, the organization apologized for any role it may have played in child sexual abuse cases.

The Atlanta Area Council of Boy Scouts says of their troop leaders, volunteers and staff are required to pass a background check..

"No boy is ever alone with an adult leader at any time, not with me not with anybody," said Sue Verner, a Scout mother.

With an estimated 32,000 Boy Scouts in metro Atlanta, Scout leaders say the organization leads the way in safety.

"Every Scout leader, every Scout professional is required to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement within 24 hours," said Fulcher.

The Atlanta Area Council of Boy Scouts says of their troop leaders, volunteers and staff are required to pass a background check. They also pointed to a recent study from the University of Virginia that showed that the likelihood of a boy scout being abused is significantly lower than a child being abused in society at large.

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