Boy Scouts' 'Perversion Files': 7,819 Alleged Sexual Abusers and 12,254 Alleged Victims

Michael W. Chapman | April 26, 2019 | 12:31pm EDT
Font Size
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

( -- Dr. Janet Warren, a sex offender expert and professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia, testified in a trial in Minnesota that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have files from 1944 through 2016 that list the names of 7,819 alleged sexual abusers and 12,254 alleged victims. These files are called the "Ineligible Volunteer Files" and the documents specifically on sexual misconduct are sometimes referred to as the "Perversion Files." 

As Dr. Warren testified, she has been under contract for the last five years for the Boy Scouts to review those files, code them, and place them on the Internet. Many of the names of the alleged perpetrators -- not the alleged victims -- from the files have been released to the public through sexual abuse litigation. In 2012, Oregon Judge John Wittmayer ordered that files from 1965 to 1985 -- some 1,247 entries -- be made public and posted online. They can be read here

Dr. Janet Warren (YouTube, ABC News)

Not everyone named in those files has been found guilty of a crime and not a few of the cases were ever litigated. As one law firm that has posted the files states, we "make no representations or suggestions that the allegations in these files are in every case true.  In fact, we are in no position to verify or attest to the truth of these allegations as they were compiled by the Boy Scouts of America."

Dr. Warren testified on Jan. 30, 2019 in the Fourth Judicial District of Minnesota in a case involving the Children's Theatre Company. In early questioning, Dr. Warren explained her professional background as a sexual offender expert and the work she has been doing for the Boy Scouts.

"The last five years I've been on private contract by the Boy Scouts of America," testified Dr. Warren.  "And you may have read about it in the news, but they have files. They're called ineligible volunteer files. And these are files that they created, individuals who have had their registration with the Boy Scouts revoked because of reasonable allegations of child sexual abuse. And so they've become quite recognized in the press; they're a part of all their litigation."

"So I have been hired by them to review all of these files, beginning in 1944 through 2016," she said. "It has taken us five years. I've had 32 coders along the east coast coding these. We've had to create Internet access to everything. And we ended up coding 7,819 of these files, meaning 7,819 perpetrators who they believe were involved in sexually abusing a child. From reviewing all these files we identified 12,254 victims."

Attorney Jeff Anderson.  (YouTube)

"These were administrative files," said Dr. Warren in her testimony.  "They were used every year to check against registration. So once a year when people would register with the Boy Scouts, they would literally have 17 people in a room checking every name against this list, trying to keep these people out. And they were trying to keep these people out years ago when there were no computers; there were criminal background checks."

"So that has been a very major project which I suspect will be being released in the next couple of weeks," she said. 

(Screenshot, Jeff Anderson & Associates)

The release of Dr. Warren's testimony was announced on April 23 at a Manhattan press conference, when the attorneys at Jeff Anderson & Associates also released two reports on alleged sexual abuse in the BSA in New Jersey and New York. Jeff Anderson & Associates represent the plaintiffs in the Minnesota case and another reason for the press conference was to highlight Dr. Warren's testimony and reveal the news that the BSA has files on 7,819 alleged abusers, a number that had not been disclosed before. 

As stated at the press conference, the New York report lists "the names of more than 130 Boy Scout leaders who worked in New York and were named in Boy Scouts of America (BSA) 'Perversion Files' as having allegations of sexually abusing minors," according to Anderson. The New Jersey report lists approximately 50 names of Boy Scout leaders who were named in the files as allegedly having abused minors. 

The names and Troop numbers of the alleged abusers are printed in the reports. 

Commenting on the files, Jeff Anderson & Associates said, "The files are created for individuals whose registration with the Boy Scouts has been revoked because of allegations of child sexual abuse. The 'perversion' files illustrate the Boy Scouts of America’s longstanding knowledge of child sexual abuse in scouting. Through litigation across the country, courts have ordered the public release of some of these Boy Scout files."

The law firm also stated, "While lawsuits may have been filed involving some of these alleged perpetrators, the vast majority of the claims against these individuals have not been fully evaluated in a civil or criminal court. Accordingly, the allegations should not be considered proven or substantiated in a court of law. All individuals should be considered innocent until proven guilty."

Again, the release of 1,247 names from the Perversion Files was ordered by an Oregon judge and upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court in 2012. 

In a statement released on April 24, one day after the Jeff Anderson & Associates press conference, the BSA said that "every instance of suspected abuse is reported to law enforcement."

"The organization went back decades and reported ... instances of abuse to law enforcement when it may have been unclear whether prior incidences had been reported," said the BSA.

 (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

"We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice," the BSA said. "Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in scouting, and we are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children."

"Throughout our history, we have enacted strong youth protection policies to prevent future abuse, including mandatory youth protection trainings and a formal leader-selection process that includes criminal background checks," the statement said. "Since the 1920s, we have maintained a Volunteer Screening Database to prevent individuals accused of abuse or inappropriate conduct from joining or re-entering our programs, a practice recommended in 2007 by the Centers for Disease Control for all youth-serving organizations."


In response to the BSA, Attorney Jeff Anderson said on Wednesday, “All the pledges and promises from the Boy Scouts of America fall short. The reality is, they have to identify the names of thousands of offenders from their secret files. The Boy Scouts need to come clean and inform the communities who these people are, what they did, and where they are today. Through a simple keystroke, they have the ability today to release the names and locations of every offender that sexually abused children."

"Absent that, any effort, promise, pledge, practice is falling short of protecting kids," he said.  "This is a time for action and truth, not a time for excuses, promises or policies.”

mrc merch