News Wrap: Boy Scouts’ ‘Perversion Files’ Document Decades of Sexual Abuse
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Decades worth of documentation became public today on sexual abuse of Boy Scouts by adult leaders. The so-called perversion files run to more than 14,000 pages of information collected between 1959 and 1991.
For more, I’m joined by Nigel Duara of The Associated Press.
Nigel, you and your fellow reporters studied these cases for months. Give us an example of one that leapt out.
NIGEL DUARA, The Associated Press: You know, the case that leapt out to us is the one that we ended up leading with. It was the case of three kids whose mom walked into a Louisiana sheriff’s office and said three of my kids have been abused by their Scout masters.
So the sheriff’s office deputies went out and interviewed the Scout master, brought him into the police station, and said, can you tell us what happened? And, according to police files that are in these Scout files, he admitted to it. He said it happened. It happened the way they said it happened. I don’t know why I did it.
And then the case was essentially buried. And as far as we can tell from these files, they said it was buried building — to preserve the interest of Scouting.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, how widespread was this type of burying or collusion with local leaders?
NIGEL DUARA: The maddening thing about these files is, is that we don’t know ultimately.
There are a lot of them that were destroyed by the Scouts in 1975. More of them would go away when Scouts turned 75 or died. So, for us, the issue is we found individual cases where it happened and we probably found 15 or 20 different cases. And then we also take into account that local Scout masters are also local officials. So, by that measure, it’s countless.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So, let’s talk about that. How do we calculate the number of people affected? You have a finite number of individuals, allegedly perpetrators of this. But what about the victims?
NIGEL DUARA: The tabulation of the victims hasn’t been done.
And part of the issue now is their names have been redacted from the files. So anyone looking to go back and tabulate that is going to have the problem that they won’t have different names of victims. So you don’t know, except for the context, if it’s one person or five people or 10 people. So it’s pretty much impossible to tell at this point how many victims we have.
HARI SREENIVASAN: So you have had several decades of historical data, but the Boy Scouts have been keeping these sorts of files up to the current day, right? So, what’s their reaction to all this?
NIGEL DUARA: So what they have done and what they did, frankly, before these files came out, certainly they put different prevention measures in place to try and stop this from happening.
They have a two-deep rule, which is that two Scout — Scouters have to be with the kids at any one time. But in addition, they have said they’re going to go back and they’re going to report all the incidents that they can find of Scouts where it may not have been brought to police.
So if they go back and see that perhaps police weren’t alerted, but the Scouts were of possible abuse, they will take that to a police office or sheriff’s office.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Nigel Duara from the Associated Press, thanks so much for your time.
NIGEL DUARA: Thank you.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street got a shock today, when a disappointing earnings report by Google was published prematurely. It showed an ongoing decline in ad revenue, and stock in the search engine giant plunged. Trading in Google was halted for two-and-a-half-hours, but shares still fell 8 percent on the day. Overall, the Dow Jones industrial average lost eight points to close below 13,549. The Nasdaq fell 31 points to finish under 3,073.
Hundreds of youthful protesters fought with police in Athens, Greece, today. The violence was aimed at austerity measures imposed under a European bailout of Greece. Firebombs burned in the streets, as approximately 70,000 demonstrators surged through the capital. Riot police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowds, just outside parliament.
Today marked the second general strike in Greece in the last month, as workers demanded that lawmakers reject new taxes and spending cuts.
MAN (through translator): We can’t take it anymore. People are suffering. There are households where everyone is unemployed. The prices are constantly increasing. We are fighting to prevent the passage of these measures which would bring us to our knees.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The strike was timed to coincide with a European Union summit in Brussels, where Greece’s economic plight will top the agenda.
In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai insisted today his country’s military and police can take over full responsibility for security sooner than scheduled, if the coalition leaves early.
Karzai spoke in Kabul after meeting with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI, Afghanistan: Afghans are ready to expedite the process of transition, if necessary, and willing as well. So this is in all aspects good news for us and good news for NATO.
HARI SREENIVASAN: One hundred and four thousand NATO troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan, including 68,000 Americans. The current plan calls for foreign combat troops to leave by the end of 2014. Rasmussen said the alliance remains committed to that timetable.
Some 14 million Americans practiced today for what to do when an earthquake hits. They took part in an annual drill dubbed the Great Shakeout. Students like these in Charlotte, North Carolina, got under their desks, covered their heads and held onto something sturdy to help minimize injuries during shaking. Most of the participants were in California, but Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia also joined in for the first time. A 5.8-magnitude quake hit the Mid-Atlantic region last year.
“Newsweek” is undergoing a shakeup in its latest effort to survive. The magazine announced today it will end its print edition as of December 31, and shift entirely to an all-digital format. The 80-year-old weekly has been losing money for years as readers and advertisers moved to the Web. Several other major magazines have already gone digital-only.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.