The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has known since at least 1920, that men have been targeting Scouting to sexually prey upon young boys. By 1920, the BSA had begun keeping what are now known as “Ineligible Volunteer Files” (IV Files) on individuals ostensibly banned from volunteering for Scouting. There were several categories for which a person could be held ineligible, but one of the categories was entitled “Perversion.” The Perversion category encompassed any type of sexual misconduct, including child pornography and child abuse. The Perversion category contained the most files, and by the 1960’s the BSA knew of thousands of incidents of child abuse within Scouting perpetrated by adult volunteers. By that same time period at least 1,000 Perversion Files were in existence and the BSA was creating approximately 40 to 60 Perversion Files each year.
For many reasons, the number of existing Perversion Files does not, nor did it ever, accurately represent the total number of child molesters in Scouting or the total number of incidents of sexual abuse of Scouts by adult volunteers. First, many victims do not report their abuse. Second, BSA’s national headquarters created the files (with the assistance from local BSA Councils), but as a rule, the scout and his parents did not know that the IV File system existed, so did not make a report to the national office. Third, a child molester is predatory by nature and consequently will normally have multiple victims. This is confirmed by the Perversion Files which show that each perpetrator had multiple victims. Finally, there is no way to know the number of Perversion Files that originally existed because the BSA has destroyed an unknown number of files.