The Boy Scout’s ‘Perversion Files’ Tell the Tale

There are now nearly 90,000 men who say they were sexually violated as young boys while participating in Boy Scouts of America programs.

The absolute shame of it comes with the realization that with a little vigilance the ranks of victims would never have gotten that massive.

Back in the 1920’s the organization began keeping a “red flag” or “perversion file” of Scoutmasters who preyed on young scouts. Yet the ghastly and ever-growing list of names was kept secret. Police were not made aware and the secrecy allowed countless sex criminals to simply move away and weasel into other unsuspecting troops of boys. The horrific situation was first revealed some one hundred years ago.

Today, the deadline for suspected victims to file compensation claims for past abuse has just passed and the organization says it is “deeply sorry” and “heartbroken that we cannot undo their pain.” Oh, really? Pardon my skepticism.

In 2010, there was a landmark lawsuit decided in an Oregon court which awarded a former scout $19.9 million dollars for the pain and suffering he endured. If the organization stepped up to admit its culpability back then perhaps the wave of lawsuits that followed would not have been so overwhelming. Perhaps the BSA would not have had to resort to filing bankruptcy last February, suffocated by the knowledge that its shameful house of secrets was crashing in.

No Honor in the “Perversion Files”

As the Torts Committee overseeing the process said, “More sexual abuse claims will be filed in the Boy Scouts bankruptcy than all claims filed against the Catholic Church throughout the nation.”

Proof of the collision of criminal cultures becomes clear when you realize many Scoutmasters in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were Catholic priests who, after mass, would don the Scoutmaster uniform and be let loose on a whole new hunting ground of young boys.

The current Vice President of Communications for the Boy Scouts of America is Effie Delimarkos. She emphasizes that millions of boys have had wonderful experiences with the group. She says BSA filed for bankruptcy so that they “can continue the mission of scouting.” That’s a pretty tone-deaf thing to say at this point in the organization’s history.

Yes, the BSA has adopted a policy of running criminal background checks on potential Scoutmasters. It has instituted abuse prevention training for all staff and volunteers and there is now a rule that two or more adult leaders must be present during activities with the boys. But the shocking revelations about this once revered motherhood-and-apple-pie institution has drastically slashed nationwide membership from a peak of about 4 million back in the 70’s to fewer than 2 million active boy scouts today.

Unidentified boy scouts - wikimedia commons
Scouts Were Preyed Upon for Decades

The fact remains that almost 90,000 men are claiming they were sexually abused under the BSA banner. The next steps could easily add to victim’s suffering. Each claim must be evaluated and judged by a committee that will determine what, if any, compensation is to be awarded. More will go to those who can demonstrate lasting damage. Also, still to be worked out: a formula for how much the Boy Scouts of America pays versus the amount their insurance company and local chapter’s insurance companies will be required to pay.

It is estimated the BSA has holdings of more than a billion dollars in vast parcels of real estate around the country, financial investments and an impressive collection of fine art that includes more than 65 Norman Rockwell paintings many of which will easily fetch millions of dollars at auction. As a teenager Rockwell was hired by the BSA to create drawings for The Boy Scout’s Hike Book and over the course of his career he frequently featured scouts in his work.

The Boys Scouts of America, founded in 1910, adopted this oath:
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Somewhere along the line those in charge of the organization lost sight of that oath. Today’s BSA executives owe it to victims to step up and direct its lawyers to expeditiously clean up this long-running horror show.



  1. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Laura Horton writes:

    Ms. Dimond,
    As a 15 year volunteer & sponsor of Cub Scout packs, I cannot defend the men at the helm that allowed such atrocities to happen. Men- the common denominator of both BSA & Catholic Church. I can’t speak for The Church in allowing women to participate or not in leadership, but I can say that BSA leadership, at least at the local level, is well represented by women. I do believe that the inclusion of women makes a significant difference.
    Another difference is scouting is now more family oriented, with all members encouraged to participate- Moms , Dads, Grandparents, brothers & sisters. There are many more eyes on the scouts and leaders.
    So, what has the sins of leadership meant for scouting at the local level? First, I should point out that the majority of membership loss was due to The Church of Latter-Day Saints withdrawing its mandatory participation in BSA. This was in retaliation for BSA allowing homosexuals and girls to join. As a result of the loss of LDS and the burden of pending settlements, fees for participating have doubled & thus put the burden of the BSA squarely on the families.
    So, yes scouting is losing even more members due to the financial strain on families. The question is whether scouting to continues to provide the values as set out, or disintegrates and provides fewer opportunities for youth to stay positively active.

    Laura Horton

  2. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Patrick Montrose writes:


    I always look forward to your articles in the Albuquerque Journal. I find they are interesting, informative, and most importantly they are unbiased and paint a fair and balanced view on the topic you are writing about.

    I was, however, upset by your column on “The Boy Scouts’ Perversion Files’ tell the tale”. You have given the impression, in your column, that all Boy Scouts were abused and all Scout Leaders were abusers. I was a Cub Scout, Webelo, and Boy Scout and did not, as the other boys in my pack and later my troop, experience any form of sexual perversion from any of the scout leaders I had contact with. When my son become old enough to be a Cub Scout, there wasn’t a pack available because noone would volunteer to be Scout Master. I and two other fathers stepped up and I became a Scout Master so our sons could experience Cub Scouting. The same thing happened when my son was old enough for Boy Scout. I became the Scout Master for the available troop. Other fathers took over the Cub Scouts when I moved on. I wound up being a Scout Master for over ten years and I can assure you not one boy was touched in an inappropriate manner during my tenure with scouting.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is don’t paint all of Scouting with the same paint brush. Obviously, there were people in position of leadership in scouting that did not belong there, but boys talk and when we mixed with other Scout Troops, for example, during Jamborees, none of my boys passed the information on to me that there was a problem in any of the troops we gathered with. They felt confident enough to talk to me about any home problems they may have had, so I’m confident they would have told me about any abuses they heard about from the Scouts from the other troops. The problem of Scout leader abuse existed, the question is how widespread was it.

    Patrick Montrose

  3. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Cristin Dobrosky@CristinD21writes:

    This is so sad for the boys and their parents that trusted the organization.

  4. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 11:53 am

    DeBritt@happy2behere4u writes:

    Sad news…the abuse from people you look up to actually causes more heartbreak than imaginable! My mind is blown away!

  5. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 11:55 am

    dee writes:

    Breaks my heart how tainted the Boys Scouts Organization will be. Our Troop produced over 20 fine young Eagle Scouts with Amazing parent leadership. It taught our boys to be able men of value. Also disturbing the group succumbed to virtuous pressure to bring in girls which fundamentally changed core curriculum and ideals of how the group intended to mold young males to be leaders for our future.

  6. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Old Boy Scout writes:

    I was a Cub, Scout, and Explorer up until 1969. The dads and moms and kids were all good people.

    Predators exist. BSA didn’t invent them.

    • Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 11:58 am

      Truth Speaker replies to Old Boy Scout:

      But they did keep a list of the bad ones they had and didn’t do anything about it for the boys. Just said, sorry, here is a new scout leader! –.– how messed up.

  7. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Chris writes:

    I was never in scouting as a youth, but I have no doubt there was abuse in the BSA. I was in other youth programs as a child where I now suspect youth were in danger, sometimes by other youth and sometimes by an adult leader, but those organizations no longer exist. The BSA has a long history, has served millions of youth and is still around, so it’s a target. No one should ever have been abused and I hope the ones that were get the justice and help they deserve.

    I will say that in the 9 years I’ve been associated with the BSA, first as a parent and then as a committee member, I’m pretty sure two deep adult leadership has always been in place and my son started in 2011. I also recall going over youth protection material with him when he started in Webelos.

    Everyone, whether adult or youth, that is registered in the BSA program is required to take and pass Youth Protection Training appropriate to their age. From the beginning, i was made aware of what can go wrong in the program and some things to watch for from abusive adults or youth. Abuse can also be in many forms and many of those are covered in the training. Any adult wanting to be involved has a limited amount of hours per year they can be with youth at all before they must get a background check and trained in YPT.

    I will say that I am amazed at how many parents dumped their kids off and never got involved in anything with their sons or daughters in the program. I’m not saying camping is for everyone, but Scouting is more than just camping. I saw my daughters and son benefit greatly from their involvement in it.

    There will never be a perfect organization and the BSA isn’t today, but I do think they have taken efforts to inform and train those involved in the program. Some troops are better run than others, no surprise. Some units barely have enough people to function and others are 100’s of youth.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to get involved, but you need to look for a troop that fits your style and feels safe for you and your youth.

  8. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Kim Scott writes:

    I was a Girl Scout for over 7-8 years all the way into high school. And I remember a lot of girls’ mothers and fathers being involved, coming on trips with us and going camping with the troop. It’s a sad shame what has happened to these poor men. Of course society already treats men as though they should suck it up and shut up which is already damaging enough. But I wish that this story opens the eyes of parents and motivates them to BE INVOLVED! I have a 3 about to be 4 year old and in this world, how can you let your child just go on off with strangers and hope they’ll be okay? The 60’s, 70’s & 80’s have only taught us that we cannot take one eye off our precious children. The world is full of predators and they always turn out to be Boy Scout masters, teachers, counselors, etc.

  9. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Melinda Wheeler writes:

    Pedophilia is everywhere. It must be exposed.

  10. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    wmkl writes:

    The problem here is that 90,000 claims does not mean 90,000 incident. It only means 90,000 people thought that they could extract some money from the Scouts. It is clear the author had zero exposure to the scouts. As someone who’s son went through the scouts I will say that they had a very robust anti-molestation system from years back. No adult was allowed one on one with a scout. Two deep leadership had to be unrelated individuals. The list goes on.

    The implication that all Catholic priests are child molesters is the same as saying all black men are thieves, there is zero difference. Only in this case the author thinks she can get away with it.

    I can’t deny that over 100 years I’m sure there was some abuse here and there but what is described here simply is a fantasy.

    • Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:04 pm

      ceejay replies:

      Why can’t you believe 90,000 in 100 years? Have you ever seen the movie Spotlight? True story about the Boston Globe exposing priests. It’s a great movie…and if you watch it to the end credits, you’ll see how prevalent this matter is. It’s horrendous.

  11. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    archie.kountz writes:

    As a youth I was a Boy Scout. My three sons went through Cub and Boy Scouts as well. While I don’t dispute claims here, I never witnessed or even heard of anything like this happening. All four of us have been greatly enriched by our scouting experiences and will happily remember them for our lifetimes. I get mad every time I hear a legal commercial that makes it sound as if abuse was absolute. There was also untold good!

  12. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Norman Baillie writes:

    I have been involved with scouting for close to 50 years as a scout, as a scout leader and as a parent with my two sons. Not one incident of molestation that I was made aware of by scouts I grew up with or supervised or that my two sons have made me aware of. One minor case of bullying mentioned by the youngest son but that is it and which he handled on his own. Great organization that has worked with millions of youngsters around the world. No doubt the Boy Scouts of America will make it through this Class Action suite and will be able to continue its great work with today’s and tomorrows youth and get them up away from their screens.

  13. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    e.quipment writes:

    Once again the formula of Large group of company with assets and sympathetic victim has been used by Plaintiff Lawyers to extract money to settle a hard to prove aggrevience or injury.
    As a former Scoutmaster, I know that your children are safer in Scouts than they are at Church, School, or Sports Activities. This is because of protocols set up to protect youths from abuse whether physical or mental. Two deep leadership, Youth Protection Training ( which is the gold standard in the US), and background checks with Law enforcement and a strict code of discipline and honor are all part of a winning formula. Most of these cases are from 1980 or before and although I feel bad for these individuals , a lawsuit will not make them whole no matter what the lawyers say. Attacks on our institutions are just another form of indoctrination from the left to gain power.

  14. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Steve Austin writes:

    The BSA’s charter and mission is extremely honorable. It’s so sad the BSA hired managers that allowed this behavior by their Scout Leaders to continue. Sexual predators protect their own apparently.

    In my opinion, the parents of these kids bear partial responsibility, albeit small.
    I walked with my son through Scouts all the way through to Eagle. I was at every camp out, field trip, troop meeting and High Adventure excursion. However, most parents considered Scouting to be a babysitting service and would drop off their kids and disappear. Some at the most important events.
    In retrospect, I suppose I can see why these animals considered BSA a target. Sad.

  15. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Porjonai writes:

    My family never let our children go alone with a boy scout leader anywhere. PARENTS wake up. My husband’s father went everywhere on camps and my son and all my friends dads. You got to have common sense parents.

  16. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Mongo Opine writes:

    Boy Scout experience is a cherished memory! We were never exposed too such evil, which makes me wonder about the 90,000 who did? Is there difference between gays and pedophiles or are the one in the same?

    • Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:14 pm

      Diane replies to Mongo

      There IS a difference, Mongo. Pedophiles have a preference for children (boys or girls or both) Gay men are NOT pedophiles. It is two completely different things. Thanks for asking. Many people incorrectly conflate the two. DD

  17. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Melinda Wheeler writes:

    Tragic!! Heinous!! These predators must be exposed!!!!

  18. Diane Dimond on November 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Richard Heiler writes:

    Agreed, so why aren’t we seeing the offenders go to jail? Because individuals don’t have vast amounts of money like organizations for lawyers to go after. The author failed to mention BSA 2-deep leadership eliminating single adult contact with youth was instituted over 20 years ago. BSA has done a terrible job getting its story to the public to show it implemented preventative measures decades ago. Does anyone believe police and judges would have convicted a priest or good-standing man of sex offense on the word of a 12 year old boy in the 30s – 60s?

  19. Diane Dimond on November 24, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Guy Kurt writes:

    It’s just shocking that since the 20’s they were aware of a problem with sexual assault and really did nothing.
    I was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout and lucky enough to never be victimized.

  20. Diane Dimond on November 24, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Sharon Rager writes:

    I was so glad to learn from your article that BSA has good assets to use for reparation. The huge number of abuse cases is shocking as well as the huge time span…..

  21. Diane Dimond on November 24, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Julie Machado writes:

    Good thing they didn’t allow gay leaders… ya know so kids dont get molested…. flipping fools

    • Diane Dimond on November 24, 2020 at 1:05 pm

      Diane replies to Julie:

      Just to be clear – being gay does not mean one is a pedophile. Pedophilia is a distinctly different thing….Pedophiles, when given a choice of sex partners, will ALWAY prefer a child (male or female or both) Homosexuals simply prefer partners of their same sex.

  22. Diane Dimond on November 24, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Danno Hanks writes:

    Diane: I am one of them.

    • Diane Dimond on November 24, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      Diane replies to Danno:

      I am so very sorry.

  23. Donna R. Gore on November 24, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Diane – If you didn’t have critics, you wouldn’t’ be doing your job. You may paint a “broad brush”, but it is larely true. How ironic that they have tons of money in Norman Rockwell paintings! If you’ve ever visited the quaint little museam on Main Street or the mansion like building in Stockbridge, Mass, it is every bit the “Mom and apple pie” experience. In this instance, BSA could stand for Bull….. “

  24. Diane Dimond on November 27, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Jeffrey Young writes:

    I had the misfortune of belonging to a Northern Virginia scout troop headed up by a retired US Army colonel. Being in his troop was like being in basic training – and treated that way, too, when one caught his disfavour. When I turned 18 and had to register for the draft, I wanted a deferment for “service already served.” But at least “The Colonel” wasn’t a chicken hawk…..fortunately.

Leave a Comment