Boy Scouts allowed to keep sexual abuse files private

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 30, 2012 9:26 PM

DALLAS (Reuters) - The Boy Scouts of America has won a temporary reprieve from turning over more than 25 years of confidential files that describe sexual abuse complaints against adult volunteers with one of the country's largest youth organizations.

Attorneys for a teenage boy who says he was assaulted by a former scoutmaster filed suit in San Antonio against the Boy Scouts and are seeking files from 1985 to 2011.

The 4th Texas Court of Appeals issued a stay on Thursday that temporarily halts an August ruling by State District Judge Martha Tanner of San Antonio ordering the Irving, Texas-based Boy Scouts to turn over the "ineligible volunteer" files.

"We will file a response but it is up the Court of Appeals to decide what is going to happen," said Paul Mones, an attorney for the teen.

Mones, of Portland, Oregon, helped obtain the release of the Boy Scouts' "ineligible volunteer" files from 1965 to 1985. Those files, key to a lawsuit that ordered the organization to pay $20 million in damages, were released in October.

The files were kept confidential to protect scouts, Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said.

"We maintain our ineligible volunteer files solely to help our organization remove and keep out individuals deemed to be unfit leaders," he said. "The BSA believes confidentiality of the files helps to encourage prompt reporting of abuse."

(Reporting by Marice Richter; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Lisa Shumaker)