Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A leader of the Boy Scouts in Minnesota is responding to allegations of child sex abuse within the organization.
Under a court order, Boy Scouts of America just released 20 years’ worth of secret files, on leaders and volunteers who were suspected of abuse.
The list covers 1965 to 1985, and includes the names of 32 Minnesotans.
Of those men, 17 were convicted or pleaded guilty to child sex abuse or child pornography.
Fifteen of the men were investigated, but no charges were filed, which is one of the big issues in this case.
The question is whether scouting leaders did enough when they had these suspicions.
John Andrews, executive director of the Northern Star Council, which oversees 80 percent of the Boy Scout Troops in Minnesota, has looked through the documents in all the cases involving Minnesota Scouts.
He said there’s no question that rules were broken. Andrews says police were involved in all of the alleged cases with the exception of one, where a parent requested privacy.
Andrews added that after looking through each one of the cases, it’s striking to see the differences in the organization’s policies 40 or 50 years ago.
“There’s no question mistakes were made,” Andrews said. “There’s no question the things that happened in those times led to the stronger practices today, at great cost. What I saw was the surprising leniency in the larger community to the people who were accused of harming children that doesn’t exist today.”
There was a case involving a former boy scout leader from Burnsville in the last decade. Peter Stibal was convicted of sexually assaulting scouts in his troop. He was sent to prison.
Andrews says as soon as the organization was made aware of the situation, they took action.
The Boy Scouts of America released a statement Thursday, saying: “Where those involved in scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families.”
Lawyers are now trying to get the Boy Scouts of America to release their files for anything after 1985.