PORTLAND, Ore. — The
Known variously as the “perversion files,” the “red flag files” and the “ineligible volunteer files,” the documents have been maintained for more than 70 years at the Scouts’ national office in Texas. Yet even after scores of abuse cases against the Scouts in recent decades, the case here is one of the few times that substantial portions of the files have been made accessible to a jury.
In Multnomah County Circuit Court on Friday, a jury found the Scouts liable for $18.5 million in punitive damages in a case brought by a man who was sexually abused by an assistant troop leader in the early 1980s, when the man was about 12. The verdict was by far the largest ever against the Scouts in a jury trial. The jury could have ordered the Scouts to pay up to $25 million. The same jury last week awarded the man, Kerry Lewis, $1.4 million in compensatory damages.
Most abuse cases involving the Scouts have ended in private settlements, and it is unknown how much the group has paid to victims.
In the Oregon case, about 1,000 files, from the years 1965 to 1984, were included as evidence, though the judge, John A. Wittmayer, allowed only the jury and lawyers involved to view them. Lawyers for Mr. Lewis, who is now 37, said in court that the files
detailed many instances across the country in which troop leaders or volunteers were allowed to continue working with children even after the Scouts had received complaints that they had committed sexual abuse.
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I'm not certain that anything more needs to be said ... about an "all-American" organization that insists on belief in god and rejects atheism and homosexuality.