Posted at: 10/18/2012 10:42 PM
Updated at: 10/18/2012 10:48 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen
Boy Scouts Apologize After Release Of Confidential Abuse Files
(ABC 6 News) -- A long list of potentially damaging information against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was released on Thursday. Confidential files on suspected child abusers within the group was made public but had been kept secret for decades.
The more than 14,000 pages of confidential files kept by the BSA on men suspected of child sex abuse are now public. Olmsted County victim services manager, Jeanne Ronayne, says although disturbing, she's glad it’s out in the open.
"Under reporting of child sexual abuse is rampant," says Ronayne. "For so long, this was silent and a secret and we're taking the lid off that and it's no longer a secret."
As she read the L.A. Times article, she noticed a number of the reported cities included Southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa, including Rochester. She's not surprised groups that work with children, like the BSA, have had these kinds of issues.
"We'd like to think that someone who would abuse a child is a monster. That we would be able to tell who's going to abuse a child, but in fact, we can't necessarily tell," says Ronayne.
"You do not get to keep secrets hidden about dangers to children...period," said Oregon attorney, Kelly Clark, released the files detailing suspected abuse by volunteers and Scout Leaders.
The BSA immediately responded saying its staffing policies and procedures include background checks, mandatory training for all Scout members, and of course, reporting of suspected abuse.
"There's no question that there are times in the past - and these go back to 40-50 years old - where we did not do the job that we should have. For that, and for people hurt, we are profoundly sorry," said the Boy Scouts of America’s national president, Wayne Perry.
But Ronayne says groups that serve children must always be vigilant for sexual predators.
"You know just because someone doesn't have a prior history of sex abuse doesn't mean they couldn't be someone's who's at-risk to children," says Ronayne.