Boy Scouts Need Not Produce Trove of Records

     TACOMA, Wa. (CN) – A federal judge said the Boy Scouts do not have to produce 60 years of documents about suspicious volunteers for a sexual abuse lawsuit in which two former Scouts call the organization a “pedophile magnet.”
     Two brothers, R.D. and C.D., sued the Boy Scouts of America for covering up their sexual abuse by a family friend at a church-sponsored Scout event more than 40 years ago.
     Gary Reese was a merit badge counselor at the time, and became a scoutmaster some years later, the brothers say.
     “Paradoxically, the BSA promotes the wholesomeness of its programs while knowing that since the 1940s, it has been secretly removing Scoutmasters for child sexual abuse at an alarming rate, which in the 1970s reached an average of one every three days,” according to the complaint, which was filed in June 2010.
     “Its own records demonstrate that it has long known that Scouting attracts pedophiles in large numbers and that Scouts, far from being safe, are at heightened risk of sexual abuse by child molesters,” the complaint adds.
     The former Scouts also sued the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsored the troop in Lakewood, Washington.
     The brothers asked the Boy Scouts to produce records of its a database of ineligible volunteers, “in which each flagged individual’s name and suspected activity was logged and stored.”
     The brothers claim the files “highlighted BSA’s vulnerabilities, including pedophiles’ technique for infiltrating the BSA organization and grooming victims,” the court order states.
     The Boy Scouts opposed the request and sought a protective order. It said that none of the requested documents are related to this case, and that there was no file regarding the alleged molester Gary Reese.
     The Scout organization also said the Scouts’ claim that they needed the files to prove that the Boy Scouts had “generalized knowledge of sexual abuse” is unrelated to the issue of whether the organization owed them a legal duty.
     U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton disagreed with the Boy Scouts’ claim that the evidence sought was irrelevant, but found that the request for thousands of files “offers little probative value to what is known by the plaintiffs about the notice to BSA about Gary Reese’s abuse of plaintiffs.”
     The judge said the former Scouts would be able to question witnesses about the Boy Scouts’ knowledge of sexual predators without making the organization produce 60 years worth of ineligible volunteer files.
     “These questions can be asked without the time and expense of redacting names of victims and alleged abusers all to provide a predicate for cross-examination,” Judge Leighton ruled, noting that there are already 1,000 ineligible volunteer files in the public domain.
     A 10-day jury trial is set to begin Jan. 31, 2012.

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