BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Boy Scouts of America have released confidential files kept on men who were suspected of child abuse over the decades.
Tens of thousands of secret documents spanning 20 years were released Thursday, exposing Scout leaders and volunteers who are accused of committing crimes against children. Attorney Kelly Clark advocated for the release of these documents.
"The Boy Scouts knew they had an institution wide problem of child abuse and didn't take steps to deal with that," Clark said.
Across the nation, thousands of men and women have been expelled from the Scouts, on suspicion of child abuse. Dozens of troops have been affected in western New York, including the City of Buffalo and the Niagara Frontier.
Boy Scouts of America had fought to keep these files secret, but were instead forced to release them.
Clark said, "You do not get to keep secrets about hidden dangers to children. Period, end of conversation."
According to the LA Times, 63-year-old Kenneth Dingman of Medina was ousted in 1971. But in 1996, News 4 learned, Dingman was convicted of sodomizing a 15-year-old boy. He was sentenced to two to four years in state prison.
In 1982, Charles Ladison of Belmont was also expelled.
Wayne Perry, president of Boy Scouts of America, admits there wasn't enough done to protect victims.
"We have to also remember that was a different time. I will tell you I'm not going to defend what might have happened in the context of then," he said.
But here's some "now" context:
In 1988, John Cote of Blasdell was suspected of child abuse. In 2009, Cote was sentenced to 97-months in prison, after he was convicted of possession of child pornography.
Perry said, "We did fall short in some instances; we are profoundly sorry."
Now, the Boy Scout leader says nothing is more important than Scout safety. Background checks are now being conducted on all volunteers.
Lawyers are still fighting to get files released that includes the names of the men accused dating back to the late 1980s.
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