Former Shorewood Scout Leader Named in 'Perversion Files'

Thousands of pages of the Boy Scouts of America's so-called "perversion files" have been released, identifying 29 Wisconsin men from 21 communities, including Shorewood.

Some 14,500 pages of the Boy Scouts of America records dubbed the "perversion files" were released Thursday, identifying 29 Wisconsin men from 21 communities, including Shorewood.

The files, which span 24 years from 1960 to 1984, identifies then Boy Scouts leader and Shorewood resident Robert M. Smith, who was convicted of second-degree sexual assault of an 11-year-old boy, according to a 1980 Milwaukee Journal article.

Smith reached a plea bargain with prosecutors in 1980 and was sentenced to three years of probation and a $10,000 fine. He also was forced to participate in a psychiatric program.

Smith resigned after allegations surfaced that he had sexual contact with the boy, and was believed to have had sexual contact with at least six other Milwaukee boys, some of whom were members of an East Side Boy Scout troop, according to another 1980 Milwaukee Journal article. The files indicate Smith had been with the Boy Scouts for seven years with Troop 100, a Shorewood chapter.

The records — formally called the Ineligible Volunteer Files — were submitted under seal as evidence in a 2010 sex-abuse lawsuit in Oregon, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The state’s highest court ordered the documents released under Oregon’s open records law. The files show police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and Boy Scout leaders covered for those accused of molesting children, the newspaper says. 

In some instances across the country, allegations were kept secret in an effort to protect the name of Scouting, the newspaper said. However, in other cases, it removed and kept suspected pedophiles out of Scout leadership roles.

Portland attorney Kelly Clark, who represents those who claim child abuse, has published the documents online.

The Boy Scouts of America has apologized to victims and their families.

"There have been instances where people misused their positions in scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong," Boy Scouts of America National President Wayne Perry said in a statement. "Where those involved in scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families."


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