The Boy Scouts of America claims its “ineligible volunteer files” – otherwise known as the “perversion files” – were “maintained to keep out individuals whose actions are inconsistent with the standards of Scouting,” which includes not only pedophiles but homosexuals as well.
King 5 News waded through 50 files and found that 48 contain records about suspected child molestation whereas the other two only documented sexual orientation:
One file is about a scoutmaster form Ellensburg who was ousted from Scouting in 1974 after the organization had collected evidence he was gay. A memorandum from a Scout Executive in Yakima to the organization’s Registration and Subscription Executive at BSA headquarters in Texas explains they’d “become aware of a suspected moral problem” with (the Scout leader). The Yakima executive received information that the man had previously been discharged as a Scouting camp counselor “on suspicion of homosexuality.” The Scouts continued to build their case in the file by obtaining “proof” of their suspicion. The record is a four page letter handwritten by the scoutmaster where he confides to a friend, “Yes, I am gay (homosexual)”. It’s unclear from the file how BSA obtained the letter. The following month BSA leaders in Texas completed their file with a lifetime ban on the scoutmaster. Their “Confidential Record Sheet” lists one reason for the move: “homosexuality”.
In 1990 a Chapter Chief from Seattle was removed from the Scouting program for being gay. The Scouts launched an investigation and created a file on the man after a parent wrote to complain the leader was “effeminate”. The parent was concerned the Chapter Chief was “exerting influence over impressionable boys”. The Scout Executive of the Chief Seattle Council, Dean Lollar, requested written proof of the man’s sexual orientation from a Chapter adviser who had befriended the suspected gay leader. The friend documented a conversation with the Chapter Chief in which he stated “I am gay. In no way have I or will I ever force myself on any Scouts or Scouters that I work with. The Boy Scouts have done so many wonderful things for me and have given me purpose and goals to work for. I couldn’t think of ever doing something the Boy Scouts would be upset with.”
The Scouts were upset. They removed the man from the organization a month after receiving the written account of his admission. Scout Executive Lollar sent a letter announcing their decision to the Chapter Chief:
“After careful review, we have decided that your registration with the Boy Scouts of America should be denied. We are therefore compelled to request that you sever any relations that you may have with the Boy Scouts of America. A refund of your registration fee is enclosed. You should understand that BSA membership registration is a privilege and is not automatically granted to everyone who applies. We reserve the right to refuse registration whenever there is a concern that an individual may not meet the high standards of membership which the BSA seeks to provide for American youth.”
According to BSA Director of Communications, Deron Smith, the “perversion files” serve as a “list of people who do not meet BSA’s standards because of various types of alleged or proven inappropriate conduct either inside or outside Scouting, including – but not limited to – theft, substance abuse, immoral conduct, criminal convictions, or known or suspected child abuse.”
Though the Boy Scouts of America have come under mass scrutiny and lost major donors due its exclusionary and discriminatory practices towards LGBT people, the organization nevertheless reaffirmed its ban on gays in July.