Two former Boy Scouts leaders in El Paso were named in thousands of documents
called the "perversion files" released Thursday by the Boy Scouts of America
detailing the allegations of sexual abuse of children spanning several
The two Scout leaders in El Paso were banned after being accused of molesting boys in the late 1960s, according to documents released under order of the Oregon Supreme Court.
The 14,500 pages were released in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts by former Scouts who were allegedly molested in the 1980s. The files include cases of convicted molesters and unproven allegations.
The Boy Scouts had sought to keep its Ineligible Volunteers files secret to protect the privacy of victims, but Oregon lawyers representing abuse victims claimed the organization was more interested in protecting its own reputation.
The Boy Scouts of America said on its website that the confidential files were part of a system intended to protect children by keeping potentially dangerous people out of the organization even in cases that could not be
proved in court.
The documents showed two cases from the Boy Scouts' Yucca Council in El Paso, both cases from late 1960s. Victim names were omitted from documents.
In September 1967, the Boy Scouts banned a 43-year-old troop committee leader after he was "caught molesting boys at summer camp," documents stated.
A parent's letter in August 1967 alleged that the leader fondled himself and exposed his penis to a boy sharing a tent with him at camp.
"He further tried to pull open my son's fly on his pajamas which my son repelled," stated the letter from the boy's parents. "He then stated to my son that he wished he had a son like him, and then told him they should rassle (wrestle). My son again repelled him by pushing him off."
The letter stated the incident was repeated a second night. The boy then moved to another tent and was not bothered again.
Boy Scouts documents stated that the leader was banned but do not say whether the incident was referred to authorities. The leader, who would now be nearly 90 years old, could not be reached for comment. His name was not published because no charges against him were filed.
The other El Paso case apparently resulted in the arrest of a scoutmaster accused of molesting boys.
In December 1968, James Francis West, then a 39-year-old scoutmaster, was accused of molesting boys at an overnight camp, according to documents.
"Parents got together after some overheard conversation between some of their boys," a personnel document stated. The boys' families got a lawyer and West was arrested for "sodomy -- fondling boys."
Documents show that West, who was involved in Scouting for at least 12 years, was banned from the organization.
"He was recently picked up and booked on two charges of sodomy," the Yucca Council's executive, M.G. King, wrote to Jack Rhea, the group's national director of personnel on Dec. 3, 1968.
"We of course have relieved him of any Scouting responsibility in this Council. I do not know whether or not this case will come before a jury, I doubt it, but in any case the above happened and he can no longer serve Scouting in any way."
El Paso Herald-Post ar-chives from May 24, 1969, showed that a James Francis West was arraigned on a charge of lascivious fondling. The newspaper list of the daily court arraignments had no details on the case and did not mention that West had been a scoutmaster.
Because of the age of the case, the court file and the outcome of the case were not immediately available on Thursday. El Paso County records show that a James Francis West died in 1990.
On Thursday, staff at the Yucca Council referred all questions to the council's executive director, David Jones, who could not be reached for comment because he is out of town.
"There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong," the Boy Scouts of America stated on its website.
"Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families. While it is difficult to understand or explain individuals' actions from many decades ago, today Scouting is a leader among youth serving organizations in preventing child abuse."
The Boy Scouts of America said the Ineligible Volunteer files were among multiple levels that the organization now takes to protect children, including background checks, training and policies such as mandatory reporting of sex abuse allegations to authorities.
Daniel Borunda may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6102. Follow him on Twitter @BorundaDaniel.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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