The names of more than 1000 people suspected of abusing boy scouts between 1965 and 1985 are now public and 53 of them are in Michigan, with one in Charlotte, one in Jackson and another in Owosso. The so-called perversion files had to be released as part of a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America filed in 2010 by a man who was molested when he was in the Boy Scouts in the 1980s.
Paul Covert, a current board member and former president of the Boy Scouts Chief Okemos Council (covering Ingham, Eaton and Clinton Counties) responded to the release of this information saying he thinks it will have a negative impact on the image of Boy Scouts of America. However, he assures parents in the area that everything is being done to keep kids safe. He couldn't comment on the details listed in the files due to the lack of knowledge.
"But I can assure you here in Lansing that I'm not aware we had any of those files. During my time I've never seen or heard of such a thing," Covert said.
According to Covert, Boy Scouts of America has one of the strictest policies of any youth organization in country, but says some may have fallen through the cracks.
"We have the strictest policies. Unfortunately, there are bad people out there and sometimes those bad people find a way around our policies."
The Boy Scouts of America National Office also released a statement saying keeping the files is a way to protect scouts by denying entry to potentially dangerous individuals. On a local level, Covert says they don't compromise when it comes to safety.
"People can have concerns that maybe aren't valid concerns. We aren't here to do a witch hunt, but we are here to make sure that if there are any bad people out there that we're being aggressive in handling those situations," Covert said.