A Sarasota father is speaking out today against the Boy Scouts of America. He doesn't want to reveal his name or show his face on camera, but he wants people to know what happened to his son.
In 2009, he was 13 years old and a Boy Scout on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. But all of that changed during a camping trip that summer when his son was sexually abused -- not by an adult, but instead by another scout.
"The hurt that you see in his eyes." he says. "Oh, it upset me very much."
He believes Boy Scouts of America knew about other, similar cases, but did nothing to warn scouts or their parents.
"You think that with the leaders there, you think that they will be watched," the father said.
In June, a Sarasota judge ordered the Boy Scouts of America to release its so-called "perversion files" regarding scout-on-scout sexual abuse.
But so far they haven't, and instead are appealing.
"We think it is absolutely unbelievable that the Boy Scouts of America would have and keep records of boys sexually abusing other boys and not do anything to disseminate that information to any parent, any child, any scout leader," said Sarasota Attorney Damian Mallard.
Mallard said represents two more boys from a different troop who were also abused by a fellow scout.
All three families have filed civil suits against the Boy Scouts.
"We do everything we can in scouting to keep our kids safe," he said.
On its website, Boy Scouts of America says "Youth protection is of paramount importance," and offer "youth protection training."
Deron Smith, Director of Public Relations for Boy Scouts of America, released this statement late today:
"The abuse of anyone, especially a child, is intolerable and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who may be a victim of this type of reprehensible behavior. While we can't comment on the lawsuit, we extend our deepest sympathies to those involved.
The safety of our youth members is of paramount importance. Recognizing that youth protection requires sustained vigilance, the BSA was on the forefront of developing youth protection policies and continues to develop and enhance efforts to protect youth through clear policies, as well as training and education programs for scouts, parents, and adult volunteers.
The BSA has continuously enhanced its multi-tiered policies and procedures, which include background checks, comprehensive training programs, and safety policies, like requiring all members to report even suspicions of abuse directly to local law enforcement."
But the father we spoke with says it's not nearly enough, until the records are released.
"I don't want another parent to go through what I went through," he said, "I just don't want it to happen to anybody else."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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