The Boy Scouts of America calls them the “perversion files.”
The stories locked inside a neat row of metal file cabinets at BSA headquarters in Irving would sicken the most callous reader. Many of them document the activities of a pedophile banned from Scouting for molesting boys in tents, on hikes or while helping them earn merit badges.
The BSA, the nation’s premier youth organization, its wholesome image honed by iconic Norman Rockwell paintings throughout the 20th century, has meticulously kept the files since the 1920s.
They number in the thousands, but no one knows much about them because Scout executives and their lawyers insist they remain confidential.
Now, a growing chorus of critics is calling on the Scouts to open their sexual secrets to public scrutiny. They argue that the files contain a treasure trove of misdeeds that academic researchers and law enforcement might use to learn more about man-on-boy pedophilia.