ATLANTA - "I think the fact that they kept files is astounding," Gainesville attorney Chandelle Summer told 11Alive News on Friday.

That was her reaction to a judge in an Oregon child molestation case releasing thousands of pages of Boy Scouts of America internal files.

They show thousands of cases of potential pedophiles in the Boy Scout ranks, including nearly one-hundred here in Georgia from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s.

Gainesville attorney Summer isn't really surprised at what the files contain.

More than two decades ago she represented Hall County Scout Master Larry Calabro when he pleaded guilty to molesting seven of his scouts.

She believes in that case, at least, the 105 year sentence her client received was too much punishment.

"It was for the purpose of sending a message to any future predators who might be thinking about using the Boy Scouts as a vehicle to molest children," Summer said.

"Keeping kids safe is our number one priority," Jeff Fulcher of the Atlanta Council of the BSA told 11Alive News.

"We know what it means to trust the safety of a child to our programs because most of our 11,000 adult volunteers and a lot of our staff are parents, too," he added.

Fulcher echoes the national BSA claim that the files were used as a sort of internal sex offender registry, to help keep track of potential predators.

"These files exist to keep kids safe and that's what they do; they identify dangerous people and make sure that they don't get back to our scouts," he said.

But the files also show thousands of alleged pedophiles stayed in the Boy Scout organization even after accusations were made.

"Parents just have to be vigilant and make sure that they're watching who their children are associating with and not necessarily delegate their children to a coach or someone they don't know very well," attorney Summer advised.

Many of the accused scout leaders were never prosecuted for lack of evidence.

But the national organization issued a statement admitting the files show that in certain cases their efforts to "protect youth were plainly insufficient and wrong".

The BSA also points out that their policing of potential child molesters is far more strict these days than in previous decades.

Read or Share this story: