The real perversion of the Boy Scouts of America’s so-called perversion files — compiled to blacklist accused sexual predators — is that they did more to protect the reputation of the organization than to safeguard young, vulnerable boys.

By quietly pushing volunteer Scout leaders to resign in lieu of reporting accusations of sexual abuse to the police and other authorities, the Boy Scouts failed boys and their families, denying them an opportunity to seek justice.

National President Wayne Perry admits that the organization handled these cases incorrectly and has changed its practices.

Yet it now refuses to release files compiled since 1985.

If the Scouts leadership is as contrite and as serious about protecting youngsters as it claims, it will open those files. A bunker mentality won’t help children.

The Roman Catholic Church suffered legal, financial and moral fallout after its own scandal came to light, but has attempted to redeem itself by adopting far more open practices.

Many of the Scouts’ long-secret files — for 1965 to 1985 — were released recently as a result of an Oregon lawsuit. The files are a trove of tragedy.

— The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Oct. 21

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