It has been revealed that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) kept tabs on members they suspected of being gay alongside records of scoutmasters and other volunteers who were suspected of being child molesters.
The Boy Scouts says the files, known collectively as ‘perversion files’ were compiled to make sure pedophiles were kicked out and stayed out of Scouting.
However an analysis of the files by Seattle’s KING 5 television channel shows top officials in the youth organization were keeping files on suspected gay Scouting volunteers as well.
Gay Eagle Scout and former troop leader Joe Hopkins told KING 5 that he was outraged and hurt to discover that the organization had included him in the files because of his sexuality.
‘It’s unbelievable to actually see the proof that they’ve been doing this,’ Hopkins told KING 5.
‘It’s really sad … I loved being a Boy Scout. I totally immersed myself in the program. I think [they] gave me the fundamental values of a moral life. And now to have them turn around and say, you’re automatically bad – it appalls me.’
The perversion files, also known as ‘ineligible volunteer files’ came to light through a series of civil court cases against the Boy Scouts.
Lawyers representing alleged abuse victims say the collection of files prove that top Scouting officials knew as early as the 1960s that paedophiles were gaining access to victims through the organization, but the group failed to institute policies to protect Scouts until the 1980s.
The Scouts have recently been under fire for their policy of excluding LGBT individuals as scouts and scoutmasters, with 280,000 people recently signing a petition calling on the organization to reinstate a lesbian den leader expelled by the group.