BOSTON (CBS) – It was a shocking revelation. More than 7,000 former Boy Scout leaders have been accused of more than 12,000 sexual assaults on boys since the 1940’s.
Attorneys for sex assault victims in New York say the information was contained in the organizations so-called “Perversion Files”, which were recently scoured by a woman hired by the Boy Scouts of America.
“And when I saw that today,” says Boston sex abuse survivor Robert Costello, “my stomach just flipped.”
Costello’s time as a Boston Boy Scout back in the 1970’s should be a wonderful memory – but it’s not.
“He would creep into my tent like at 3 a.m. on camping trips,” says Costello, “and then reach into my sleeping bag and fondle me.”
He says it was an assistant scoutmaster who molested him – on camping trips and at troop meetings – leaving lifelong emotional scars.
On Tuesday, attorneys in New York went public with 180 names gleaned from their legal research – names of former scout leaders and volunteers tossed from scouting amid allegations of sexual abuse against the boys they were supposed to be helping.
The lawyers argued the public posting was needed to warn others that a child molester might be in their midst.
The Boy Scouts of America had declined to release names.
“They weren’t transparent and they weren’t honest,” says Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian. “They were more concerned about themselves – their group’s reputation and fundraising – than they were about the safety of children.”
Garabedian was a pivotal figure in exposing the Catholic Churches systematic cover up for pedophile priests – and sees plenty of similarities with the BSA.
But the Boy Scouts issued a statement Tuesday, saying, in part – “… at no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth.”
The BSA also insisted – “… every instance of suspected abuse is reported to law enforcement.”
The Scouts included a lengthy listing of measures put in place over the last several years aimed at safeguarding the youngsters entrusted to them.
Garabedian says it’s too little too late.
“The Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts are playing the same game,” says the longtime advocate for survivors of sex abuse. “They try to sweep it under the rug and then play the victim by saying ‘We already fixed that. Why are you picking on us?’”
Garabedian doesn’t believe the Boy Scouts – or the Catholic Church – have really embraced the changes needed.
And sadly, he points to plenty of overlap.
Robert Costello’s troop held meetings at a church, where he says he was molested by that assistant scoutmaster – and the priest who helped run the troop.