The Boy Scouts of America "perversion files" contain the names of a staggering number of suspected pedophiles and their victims, an attorney revealed Tuesday. Jeff Anderson, who represents former Scouts who say they were abused, said an expert hired by the Scouts to audit the files on suspected abusers found that there were 7,819 suspected perpetrators and 12,254 victims between 1944 and 2016, Fox reports. "That is a number not known before today or ever revealed by the Boy Scouts of America," he said at a press conference in New York. He said the alarming thing is not just the number, but "the fact is that the Boy Scouts of America has never actually released these names in any form that can be known to the public."
Anderson said the number of suspected abusers and victims was revealed during a trial in January, ABC reports. He said that the names of the suspects were not given to the public or the police, meaning that while they may have been banned from Scouting, they would have been free to work with children elsewhere, NBC 4 reports. Anderson plans to file multiple lawsuits on behalf of victims in August, when New York's Child Victims Act takes effect. The law opens up a one-year window in which victims of child sexual abuse can pursue civil action, no matter when the abuse occurred. In a statement, Boy Scouts of America said it cares deeply about abuse victims. "At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers, and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement," BSA said. (Some of the "perversion files" were released in 2012.)