September 6, 2012 in Region

Boy Scouts’ request to redact files rejected

Nigel Duara Associated Press
 

PORTLAND – An Oregon judge has denied a request from the Boy Scouts of America to make extensive redactions to the public release of 20 years of its so-called perversion files.

But Multnomah County Judge John Wittmayer did order less-extensive redactions, including blacking out the addresses and telephone numbers from the files of victims and people reporting allegations of abuse.

Wittmayer’s ruling stretches back to a landmark lawsuit in Portland against the Boy Scouts. The Scouts lost the lawsuit in April 2010 but fought against the release of files on 1,200 alleged molesters.

The Oregon Supreme Court in June ruled the documents are public records and could be released with the redaction of victims’ names.

The files on men blacklisted from scouting from 1965 to 1985 were introduced as evidence in that case. The Scouts lost the lawsuit in an April 2010 jury ruling but fought to keep the files confidential.

Media organizations, including the Associated Press, said the files should be considered public.

Attorneys for the Scouts did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Wednesday.

The 20,000 pages of files containing sex abuse allegations from 1965 to 1985 were shown to jurors in the 2010 case, which stemmed from the abuse of several youths by an Oregon Scout leader.

Wittmayer reviewed six of the files before making his ruling.

The files contain accusations against Scout leaders ranging from child abuse to lesser offenses that would prohibit them from working in the Scouts.

Attorneys in suits across the country are seeking various segments of the files, such as the 20-year segment in Portland. Those cases – in states including Idaho, Texas, California and Montana – are part of a larger effort by a network of attorneys to make public all the files kept by the Scouts, which date to at least 1925.

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