Sex-abuse civil trial to unveil Boy Scout 'perversion' files

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Sex-abuse civil trial to unveil Boy Scout 'perversion' files
Attorney Peter Janci moves boxes full of records from the Boy Scouts of America in Portland, Ore., Thursday, June 14, 2012. The Oregon Supreme Court has approved the release of 20,000 pages of so-called perversion files compiled by the Boy Scouts of America on suspected child molesters within the organization for more than 20 years, giving the public its first chance to review the records. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the California Department of Justice's official Internet web site, Megan's Law shows former Boy Scout leader Al Stein who has pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment in 2009. The California judge ruled Friday Jan. 9, 2015 that more than three decades of Boy Scout "perversion" files containing allegations of sex abuse within the organization can be used as evidence in the molestation case brought by a 20-year-old man this month, including 16 years' worth of documents that have never been publicly revealed. (AP Photo/California Department of Justice, Megan's Law)
FILE - This file photo provided by Weber County (Utah) Corrections Department shows Kenneth William Prince. Prince, a former teacher and Boy Scout leader has been arrested for the second time in two months on suspicion of child sexual abuse charges. The Deseret News reports that the 61-year-old Prince was arrested Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 on two counts of sexual abuse of a child. On Sept. 26, Prince was arrested on suspicion of five counts of sexual exploitation of minors, all related to child porn. He posted bail, and attempted suicide by ingesting mercury. At least eight others called police after the first arrest to report abuse, leading to the second arrest. Detectives opened the case after a victim came forward with decades-old allegations of abuse by Prince. (AP Photo/Weber County Corrections, File)
Attorney Peter Janci moves boxes full of records from the Boy Scouts of America in Portland, Ore., Thursday, June 14, 2012. The Oregon Supreme Court has approved the release of 20,000 pages of so-called perversion files compiled by the Boy Scouts of America on suspected child molesters within the organization for more than 20 years, giving the public its first chance to review the records. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Attorney Peter Janci moves boxes full of records from the Boy Scouts of America in Portland, Ore., Thursday, June 14, 2012. The Oregon Supreme Court has approved the release of 20,000 pages of so-called perversion files compiled by the Boy Scouts of America on suspected child molesters within the organization for more than 20 years, giving the public its first chance to review the records. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Boxes full of records from the Boy Scouts of America are seen next to a large placard the Boy Scout oath at an attorney's office in Portland, Ore., Thursday, June 14, 2012. The Oregon Supreme Court has approved the release of 20,000 pages of so-called perversion files compiled by the Boy Scouts of America on suspected child molesters within the organization for more than 20 years, giving the public its first chance to review the records. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
FILE - In this June 14, 2012 file photo, attorney Peter Janci moves boxes full of records from the Boy Scouts of America in Portland, Ore. A Portland judge hears arguments Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012 from the Boy Scouts, who are requesting further redactions to 20 years of their so-called perversion files. The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled the documents are public records.(AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)
Attorney Kelly Clark speaks in front of former court case illustrations and boxes full of records from the Boy Scouts of America in Portland, Ore., Thursday, June 14, 2012. The Oregon Supreme Court has approved the release of 20,000 pages of so-called perversion files compiled by the Boy Scouts of America on suspected child molesters within the organization for more than 20 years, giving the public its first chance to review the records. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Mark Dietrich is embraced by his daughter Ellen after saying that he was sexually abused when he was a Boy Scout, during a news conference in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. Dietrich is suing a regional Boy Scouts council, alleging he was sexually abused by his scout leader more than 30 years ago. The Coast Guard veteran filed the lawsuit Wednesday claiming the scoutmaster of his troop frequently molested him between 1978 and 1981. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Mark Dietrich stands by his Coast Guard portrait before announcing that he was sexually abused while in the Boy Scouts at a news conference in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. Dietrich is suing a regional Boy Scouts council, alleging he was sexually abused by his scout leader more than 30 years ago. The Coast Guard veteran filed the lawsuit Wednesday claiming the scoutmaster of his troop frequently molested him between 1978 and 1981. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Mark Dietrich answers questions about being sexually abused while in the Boy Scouts at a news conference in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. Dietrich is suing a regional Boy Scouts council, alleging he was sexually abused by his scout leader more than 30 years ago. The Coast Guard veteran filed the lawsuit Wednesday claiming the scoutmaster of his troop frequently molested him between 1978 and 1981. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Attorney Stephen F. Crew holds a photograph of Steven Terry Hill during a news conference Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in Portland, Ore. Four men are suing the Boy Scouts of America, alleging they were sexually abused in the 1970s when they were between the ages of 12 and 15 by an Oregon Scouts leader. The former Scouts say in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that an Oregon branch of the Scouts was informed that a child had alleged sexual abuse against Steven T. Hill in California, but did nothing to stop him from overseeing Scouts in Oregon. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
This photo provided by the Oregon State Police shows Steven Terry Hill. Four men are suing the Boy Scouts of America, alleging they were sexually abused in the 1970s when they were between the ages of 12 and 15 by an Oregon Scouts leader. The former Scouts say in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, May 9, 2012 that an Oregon branch of the Scouts was informed that a child had alleged sexual abuse against Steven T. Hill in California, but did nothing to stop him from overseeing Scouts in Oregon. (AP Photo/Oregon State Police)
File - In this Feb. 4, 2013 file photo, shows a close up detail of a Boy Scout uniform worn during a news conference in front of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas. Attorneys for the Boy Scouts of America have reached a settlement with a former San Antonio Scout who says he was abused by his adult leader. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
Kenneth William Prince leaves Judge Ernie Jones' courtroom in second district court Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, in Ogden, Utah. Prince, a former teacher and Boy Scout leader has been arrested for the second time in two months on suspicion of child sexual abuse charges. The Deseret News reports that the 61-year-old Prince was arrested Monday on two counts of sexual abuse of a child (AP Photo/Standard-Examiner, Dylan Brown, Pool)
Geoff McGrath holds his Boy Scout scoutmaster uniform shirt for the Seattle troop he led, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in Bellevue, Wash. The Boys Scouts of America has removed McGrath, an openly gay troop leader, after saying he made an issue out of his sexual orientation. The BSA told McGrath in a letter Monday that “it has no choice but to revoke your registration” after he told news media he was gay in connection with a news story. McGrath, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, has been leading Seattle Troop 98 since its application was approved last fall. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
James Oliver, left, stands behind his brother and fellow Eagle Scout, Will Oliver, who is gay, as he makes comments during a news conference in front of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in Dallas, Texas. Scouts and their families have delivered a petition to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters urging an end to a policy banning gay scouts and leaders from the organization. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Boy Scouts are seen in the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol as they wait to hear Gov. Rick Perry speak during the annual Boy Scouts Parade and Report to State, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Perry says he hopes the Boy Scouts of America doesn't move soften its mandatory no-gays membership policy. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A Boy Scout wears an Eagle Scot neckerchief during the annual Boy Scouts Parade and Report to State in the House Chambers at the Texas State Capitol, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Perry says he hopes the Boy Scouts of America doesn't move soften its mandatory no-gays membership policy. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) -- Previously sealed Boy Scout "perversion" files spanning 16 years could soon be in the public eye as part of a negligence lawsuit set for trial Monday that a victim of sex abuse filed against the organization.

Opening statements were scheduled in Santa Barbara, where a man who is now 20 and was molested by a Boy Scout volunteer in 2007 is seeking punitive damages. He claims the Scouts failed to educate and warn parents and volunteers about the dangers of sex abuse.

A judge ruled earlier this month that the man's attorney, Tim Hale, could introduce more than 30 years' worth of "perversion" files kept by the Boy Scouts as evidence in the case.

The files cleared for use by Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna D. Geck include 16 years of documents - from 1991 to 2007- that have never been seen before.

The papers could reveal how much the national organization has improved its efforts to protect children and report abuse after several high-profile cases sparked a youth protection policy in the late 1980s.

Previous large verdicts against the Scouts focused on cases where alleged abuse occurred before the policy was put in place.

In 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the Scouts to make public a trove of files from 1965 to 1985. The records showed that more than one-third of abuse allegations never were reported to police and that even when authorities were told, little was done most of the time.

Those documents came to light after a jury in 2010 imposed a nearly $20 million penalty against the Scouts in a molestation case in Portland, Oregon, that dated to the early 1980s.

Since then, plaintiffs' attorneys in several states, including Texas and Minnesota, have sought to publicize the more recent records through similar lawsuits.

Those cases settled before trial, leaving the records sealed, but there has been no indication that either side in the upcoming California case wants to settle.

The lawsuit alleges that 29-year-old Scouts volunteer Al Stein pulled down the plaintiff's pants when he was 13 and fondled him while the two worked in a Christmas tree lot.

Stein pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment in 2009 and was sentenced to probation. He served time in prison after authorities discovered photos of naked children on his cellphone.

He was paroled early, however, and was last living in Salinas, California, as a registered sex offender.

The Boy Scouts have said Stein's actions were unacceptable but declined to comment on the larger issue of the "perversion" files in the case.

Attorneys for the Scouts have not replied to repeated emails and calls seeking comment. They said in previous court hearings that the documents are not relevant.

Under the judge's ruling, Hale can draw from thousands of pages of documents when he presents his case, but records that are not used will remain sealed.

After trial, the plaintiff's counsel and other interested parties can petition the court for the release of all the files.

That's what happened in Oregon. The Oregon Supreme Court ordered the Scouts to make all the documents public after The Associated Press and other media outlets intervened.

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