Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Ineligible Volunteer Files
Our law firms represent many people who were sexually abused in New York while they were in the Boy Scouts of America. You can read or watch some of the recent news stories regarding our clients and some of our attorneys by clicking here and here. (The clients chose to tell their stories. Any contact you have with us will be strictly confidential.)
This page provides an update regarding the Child Victims Act, an overview of the problem of sexual abuse in Scouting, and a link to the files of Scout leaders who the Boy Scouts deemed “ineligible” to volunteer because they believed the Scout leader posed a danger to children. As noted below, if you were abused by a Scout leader and his name does not appear in the files, please do not be alarmed as the list is very incomplete. Whether their name is on the list does not mean you do not have a claim for the abuse you suffered. Please contact us to learn your options.
Great News on Child Victims Act!
The Child Victims Act was signed into law on February 14, 2019!! The new law gives all abuse survivors, regardless of their current age, one year to file a civil claim for the abuse they suffered. However, that one year period could be significantly shortened if the Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy because a bankruptcy judge could order claims to be filed sooner. If you were abused while in Scouts, or if you were abused by a Scout leader, please contact us to learn your options as we can help make sure your rights are protected.
New York “Ineligible Volunteer” / “Perversion” Files
At the bottom of this page you will find links to the files for Boy Scout leaders in New York who the Boy Scouts deemed “ineligible” to volunteer because they believed the Scout leader posed a danger to children. Some of our lawyers obtained these files almost twenty years ago, so please know that any report claiming the files are “new” is inaccurate. Please also know that the files are incomplete — the Boy Scouts have not released their files for many years, and they had a policy of destroying files once the person was deceased. We have represented many people who were abused by Boy Scout leaders who are not in the files, so do not be discouraged if you were abused by someone who is not in the files. Please contact us to learn your legal options — under the Child Victims Act anyone regardless of age will have one year to file a claim against the Boy Scouts for the abuse they suffered, but that one year could be much shorter if the Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy.
History of the “Ineligible” Volunteer Files
Starting in the early 1900s, the Boy Scouts of America maintained a file system that became known as the “ineligible volunteer” files. The files contained a list of the names of adults who the Boy Scouts deemed ineligible to volunteer in Scouting for a variety of reasons, including child sexual abuse. In 1935, the then Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts, Dr. James E. West, told the New York Times that the list contained 2,919 names and that “a proportion represents men who are morally unfit.” West noted that the Boy Scouts “still have those who seek to enter Scouting and contact boys who are unbalanced morally” and others who “undertake to deal with sex matters and become morbid on the subject and sometimes give way to temptation and develop practices which make them degenerates.”
In the New York Times article, Dr. West explained that “degenerate types” represented about 30% of the 2,919 files, or almost 1,000 individual Scout leaders. West claimed Scout leaders who were removed for “defects of a moral nature” were not considered for leadership jobs or any Scout position.
After 1935, little was reported on the existence or content of the ineligible volunteer files until 2012, when a judge ordered the public release of the files. Those files show that between 1960 and 1992, the Boy Scouts created approximately 153 files for Scout leaders across New York. Between 1992 and 2004, the Boy Scouts are believed to have added more than 200 new names from New York to its list of “ineligible volunteers,” but the files on those individuals have not been released to the public.
The Boy Scouts tried to keep this list of names secret for many years. For example, we have an internal Boy Scout memo about the files where the Scout executive in charge of the files asked other Scout executives to keep the letter confidential because of “the misunderstandings which could develop if it were widely distributed.” He instructed them to avoid sharing it “beyond the top management of your council.”
Below is the list of names for the 153 Scout leaders in the ineligible volunteer files who were associated with a troop in New York. You can click on the person’s name and it will take you to a page with more information on the person and some or all of the file that the Boy Scouts maintained on the individual. Again, please do not be discouraged if the Boy Scout leader who abused you is not listed below as there are likely 100s of Scout leaders who abused children who are not on this list.
If you were abused by a Boy Scout leader or volunteer, even if it was decades ago, please contact an attorney to learn your legal options. The time to act is now as the time to file a claim under the Child Victims Act will be limited.