FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. – After thousands of files were revealed by attorneys accusing former troop leaders across the United States of child sexual abuse, some of the files identified former leaders from the area.
They’re known as the “Perversion Files,” boxes of thousands of cases claiming Boy Scout leaders and volunteers sexually abused scouts. Some scout leaders were caught and arrested, other cases were covered up.
The paper trail spans over decades and across the country and unfortunately passes through the Piedmont.
Michael Clapp and Rickey Vernon were two former Boy Scout leaders, both men are convicted sex offenders.
The two men were kicked out of scouts several years ago after allegations of sexual abuse were made against them. Their files were just two of the thousands released.
Clapp lives in Kernersville and files show he resigned from a High Point troop back in 1984. He admitted to inappropriate behavior with a scout.
Vernon lives in Winston-Salem and files shows he started working with a troop in 1982. In a letter, in the file, scouts claim Vernon fondled them in bed and tried to get them to shower with him.
Another Piedmont case happened with a Lexington troop in 1983.
According to scout papers, two teen scouts were interviewed and admitted their leader tried to sexually fondle them. When the scout leader was approached about the occurrences he resigned.
In other cases, an investigation is ongoing. However, there aren’t any names associated with the files yet.
“I think the context is a long time ago. We fell short and we didn’t do the job we should have and for that we are profoundly sorry,” said Wayne Perry, National President of Boy Scouts of America.
Local Leaders say that even before the release of the documents, standards and protocols were put in place to prevent child abuse.
“The cases that are being released and are going to be in the media in the next few days all took place between 1965 and the very early 90′s. There’s a whole cultural shift in how child abuse is reported and treated these days,” said Steve Wilburn Scout Executive of the Old Hickory Council in Winston-Salem.
In 1981 the Boy Scouts of America established a “two deep rule” stating that two or more adults must be with every child during camps or meetings to eliminate one on one contact with scouts.
“One of the first requirements that a new scout must complete is to sit down with their parents and go through a discussion guide that’s in the front of each scout handbook on how do you recognize or how to keep yourself safe,” said Wilburn.
The Los Angeles Times has created a database compiling allegations of sexual abuse across the United States from 1947 to 2005.