(CBS) The Boy Scouts of America is accused of a century-long coverup of hiding evidence of sexual abuse by Scout leaders. However, the secrecy is now ending with a wave of evidence posted online for all to see.
Tom Stewart became a Cub Scout in 1970 and almost immediately became a victim of his Scout master.
Stewart said, "I was in Scouting with my brother, Matt, and we were sexually abused for the better part of 10 years, from age 8 to 18."
He says he is just one of many Boy Scouts who have been molested by those they trusted. "It's not easy for me to get up here and talk about this," Stewart said. "But, you know, I do want to speak for all the victims that can't speak for themselves."
There have been hundreds, if not thousands of other victims, documented by the Boy Scouts in what came to be called the "perversion files."
In 1935, the New York Times reported that the group had created a "red flag list," naming almost 900 men removed for "moral perversion." Twenty years ago, author Patrick Boyle collected boxes full of the files, released during court cases against the Scouts.
Boyle, author of "Scouts Honor," said, "These files are an incredible treasure trove of information about how child molesters operate in youth-serving organizations."
But the Boy Scouts have resisted making the files public. Now, however, details have been put online, listing the names of some 1,900 Scout leaders suspected or convicted of abusing children. Victims' rights attorney Tim Kosnoff posted the list. Kosnoff said, "Today, there exist more than 6,000 files, and the rate at which they are opened up continues to be on average one every other day."
Next week, more than 20,000 pages from the files will be posted online, made public by order of a court in Oregon. Names have been removed, but the files will detail alleged sexual abuse over 20 years by Scout masters and volunteers.
Janet Warren, a professor of psychiatry, says the Boy Scouts created the files to identify suspected child molesters and get them out of Scouting. "They've been consistent, they've been diligent," Warren said. "They've kept up a very sustained effort to use it to protect children."
Victims disagree. Tom Stewart says the files may have protected the Boy Scouts, but did not protect him. "You know, Scouting does have some good points," Stewart said. "However, right now it's a very dangerous program for young boys."
Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:44 PM EDT2013-06-19 17:44:04 GMT
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