They call them the “perversion files”, and more than 5,000 alleged child molesters aren’t the only ones hoping to prevent their hitherto-secret contents ever seeing the light of day.
Boy Scouts of America is at the centre of a growing legal crisis as it attempts to block publication of documents that name and shame the extraordinary number of adults expelled from the organisation amid accusations of sexual misconduct.
Lawyers are fighting efforts to force disclosure of the files, which date back to the 1920s and detail thousands of proven and unproven cases of abuse by scoutmasters and other volunteers.
Critics have compared their efforts to cover up sexual misdemeanours to those that have in recent years led to the Catholic Church paying hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to victims of abuse at the hands of priests.
The potential scale of the scandal was laid bare at the weekend by Richard Turley, a convicted paedophile and former scoutmaster who was able, over two decades, to abuse at least 15 boys in his care.
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