(USA Today) -- Over a 20-year period, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and even helped many to cover their tracks, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The newspaper says its extensive review of 1,600 confidential "perversion files" from 1970 to 1991 found that BSA officials frequently allowed suspected molesters to leave the organization for bogus reasons such as business demands or "chronic brain dysfunction."
Times reporters Kim Christensen and Jason Felch write that although the Boy Scouts kept a blacklist of alleged molesters since 1919, it often didn't work, as men would slip back into the program and face new accusations.
The newspaper, which broke earlier aspects of the story in August, examined more than 500 cases in which the Scouts had heard of alleged abuse through tips from parents or staff members.
"In about 400 of those cases -- 80% -- there is no record of Scouting officials reporting the allegations to police. In more than 100 of the cases, officials actively sought to conceal the alleged abuse or allowed the suspects to hide it," the Timeswrites.
The newspaper says BSA officials declined to be interviewed for the article. Spokesman Deron Smith, in a prepared statement to the Times said, "We have always cooperated fully with any request from law enforcement and today require our members to report even suspicion of abuse directly to their local authorities."
The Times notes that the organization's lawyers have been fighting legal battles around the country to keep the files from public view.