SEATTLE, May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys suing the Boy Scouts of America for child sexual abuse and failing to protect children said Thursday that today's vote to remove a ban on gay scouts will clarify the sharp difference between homosexuality – a preference for members of one's own sex – and pedophilia, a major crime.
Today's vote could lead to better safety for children, if the Boy Scouts learn from past mistakes, said Tim Kosnoff, a Seattle attorney who has represented more than more than 100 boys and men sexually victimized within scouting. Kosnoff and his law partner, Dan Fasy, now represent more than 80 clients nationwide suing the Boy Scouts for sexual abuse.
"Parents should not fear gay scouts. They should fear the organization's refusal and failure to protect their boys from the real threats – sexual predators and an organization that has routinely covered up and not reported crimes to law enforcement."
During the past decade, Kosnoff studied the Boy Scouts' historical records, more than 30,000 internal files documenting allegations of child sexual abuse by adult scout volunteers. Kosnoff spent years compiling a database of sex-abuse claims using records from court cases.
Kosnoff found among nearly 50 years of the so-called "perversion files" or "ineligible volunteer" files:
* The problem of sexual abuse in scouting was not related to homosexuality but pedophilia – a completely unrelated phenomenon.
* The overwhelming percentage of files revealed that married men, outwardly "heterosexual men," are responsible for the vast majority of child sexual victimization within scouting.
* Abusers often had a past history of being abused themselves as children.
* Teenage gay boys represented a miniscule threat, something found in academic research, as well. (The Boy Scouts themselves consulted four experts in the field of child sexual-abuse prevention, and all four conveyed a nearly universal opinion that homosexuality is not a risk factor for the sexual abuse of children, the Associated Press reported in April.)
"The Boy Scouts have evaded analyzing their own files, to the detriment of children's safety," Kosnoff said, noting that pedophiles with prior abuse records were allowed to return to serve as scout leaders.
"The real issue is the Boy Scouts' refusal and failure to implement reasonable safeguards that will protect all boys from sexual victimization by anyone."
For years, Kosnoff has advocated for criminal background checks for adult scout volunteers, a "two-deep" leadership rule – mandatory two adults present at all times – and swift reporting of abuse claims to police, rather than self-styled investigations or no investigation by the Boy Scouts.
Gay boys should experience the same benefits that scouting offers to all scouts: honor, dignity, respect, patriotism, and the opportunity to learn leadership and outdoor skills, said Dan Fasy, Kosnoff's law partner.
Fasy noted that the Boys Scouts of America was chartered by Congress in 1916 and today still receives substantial federal subsidies. Fasy called upon the Boy Scouts of America to stop discriminating or forego taxpayer subsidies.
"It is fundamentally un-American to deny opportunities to some boys," Fasy said. "It's just wrong."
Tim Kosnoff is a former deputy prosecutor and longtime trial lawyer. In the past 16 years, Kosnoff has represented more than 1,000 victims of childhood sex abuse. He has secured over $250 million in settlements and judgments for abuse survivors.
Dan Fasy is a partner at Kosnoff Fasy and has represented hundreds of injured clients.
Tim Kosnoff, child sexual-abuse attorney/legal expert: 425-830-8201
Dan Fasy, child sexual-abuse attorney/legal expert: 206-462-4338
SOURCE Kosnoff Fasy PLLC