Attorneys releasing confidential Boy Scouts files on alleged child molestation are calling upon Congress to audit whether the group's youth protections are working.
The effort to seek a congressional inquiry came Thursday as the attorneys released more than 20,000 Boy Scout documents identifying more than 1,000 leaders and volunteers banned from the group after being accused of sexual or inappropriate conduct with boys.
Child abuse prevention groups will be asked to join a national push for the congressional audit, according to the lawyers, who won a child sex abuse lawsuit against the Scouts in Oregon and are now suing the group in Texas.
At a morning news conference in Oregon, as attorneys released the Boy Scouts files in Seattle, Laura Lohe was buying Cub Scout supplies for her little wolf Cub, Johnny.
"He just joined the Scouts back in June,” she said. “It's a brand new pack."
Scouting appeals to Lohe because of the life skills it teaches. “It's an enjoyable program and he seems to love it. Keeps him grounded," she said.
And she said she firmly believes her son is safe. "I trust everybody that's around him in our circle in the Cub scouts," she added.
The Boy Scouts, founded by congressional charter in 1910, welcome an audit or "any additional examination by authorities," the group said.
The organization also 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," the Boy Scouts said in a statement.
The Boy Scouts organization announced a few weeks ago that it's reviewing all files since 1965 to ensure "all good-faith suspicion of abuse" has been reported to police.
The files released by attorneys Thursday span from 1965 to 1985.
Two-thirds of those files have involved "local law enforcement already," and the group enacted a mandatory policy in 2011 requiring all members to tell police of possible abuse child abuse or use of child pornography, the Boy Scouts said.
One of the attorneys, Kelly Clark of Portland, is seeking the federal audit because of news accounts he's read the past three years showing that adult Scoutmasters were being accused of child sex abuse or possessing child pornography.
"One of the questions we have for the Boy Scouts is, if the policy (on child abuse prevention) is so good, why is still happening?" Clark said. "We don't, for example, see a Catholic priest being arrested once a week, once a month, anymore."
The public release of the Scouts' 1,247 "ineligible volunteer files" from 1965 to 1985 does not identify the boy victims and witnesses. The national files are being distributed with the approval of the Oregon Supreme Court by a law firm that won an $18.5 million judgment in 2010 against the Boy Scouts in a case where a Scoutmaster sexually abused a boy.
(CNN said it was not linking to the reports because it hasn't verified the allegations that they contain and because the attorneys admit that they haven't checked the veracity of the allegations; other media organizations, including the Los Angeles Times, were linking to the reports.)
In response to the files' release, Wayne Perry, president of Boy Scouts of America, said the group is deeply committed to youth protection.