On Behalf of 25 Child Advocacy Organizations In Support of Boy Scout Survivors on Release of “Perversion Files” – Calling on All States to Eliminate the Statutes of Limitations Keeping Child Sex Abuse Victims Out of Court
October 20, 2012 Comments Off on On Behalf of 25 Child Advocacy Organizations In Support of Boy Scout Survivors on Release of “Perversion Files” – Calling on All States to Eliminate the Statutes of Limitations Keeping Child Sex Abuse Victims Out of Court
October 18, 2012
Comment by Professor Marci A. Hamilton
on Behalf of 25 Child Advocacy Organizations In Support of Boy Scout Survivors on Release of “Perversion Files”
Calling on All States to Eliminate the Statutes of Limitations Keeping Child Sex Abuse Victims Out of Court
The Oregon Supreme Court ordered the release of the Boy Scouts’ “perversion files” in Jack Does I-VI vs. Corp. of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Corp. of the President of the Church of Latter Day Saints and Successors & The Boy Scouts of America, et. al (Or. June 14, 2012), available at http://media.oregonlive.com/portland_impact/other/S058601%5B1%5D.pdf .
These files establish that the Boy Scouts knew about predators, but instead of protecting children by going to the authorities, they kept their identities secret and let them abuse more children. Marci Hamilton, one of the nation’s leading experts on child sex abuse in institutional settings, states, “The Boy Scout files, like the Philadelphia Grand Jury Reports on abuse in the Philadelphia Archdiocese and the grand jury report on abuse by Jerry Sandusky, document how yet another institution has covered up child sex abuse. They kept records and knew more than anyone else in the country about the recidivism of abusers, yet, they did not go to the authorities.
They enabled perpetrators and endangered one child after another. Internal records and investigations are never enough. Nor is sending the perpetrator away, with no notice to the authorities and the next community at risk. Sadly, the statutes of limitations for the vast majority of the Boy Scout survivors in many states likely have expired, making it difficult to prosecute or sue the perpetrators, or to bring the organization to account for endangering children. The Boy Scout’s perversion files are another stark reminder to our elected representatives that laws in many states favor the organization, aid the predator, and put children at risk. Right now, there are untold numbers of hidden child predators who are preying on one child after another, because the statutes of limitations have been configured to give them that opportunity.
It is a fact that approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused. Thus, there is an iceberg of victims across the country, including many Boy Scout victims, who have no access to justice. Under the current statute of limitations in many states–which halt criminal prosecution and civil cases long before most victims are ready to come forward — those who caused the abuse or created the conditions for the abuse are being given a free ride.
The Boy Scouts of America is just the latest organization whose failure to report abuse led to justice denied. Now is the time for every state to look hard at its SOLs and to give child sex abuse victims a chance at justice.”….