(DELAWARE ONLINE) -- Once-confidential files on 14 local Boy Scout leaders accused of sexual abuse show that the system designed to keep them away from children often worked but occasionally fell short.
When leaders did slip through the cracks, there is no evidence they went on to abuse other children, the files and court records show.
Some continued successful careers and have stayed clear of any kind of criminal charges for decades.
Several of the men said they never knew the Boy Scouts of America kept files on them and were distraught to learn that some of those files - dating from 1960 to 1991 - are now being made public by two law firms that have sued the national Scouting organization over how it handled suspected abusers. They fear that any kind of sexual allegation will make them appear to be pedophile predators.
"It's going to take the rest of my life and ruin it," said Robert N. Bye, 57, a recently retired teacher who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sexual offense involving a Scout in 1982.
"How do you go on? I don't know," said Bye, of Brandywine Hundred. "I don't think it's fair. You shouldn't throw everybody into this big [Jerry] Sandusky thing."
Jason Pierce, executive of the Scouts' Del-Mar-Va Council, which serves about 10,000 Scouts throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, said the group's protection system has improved over the past century and "will continue to evolve."
"The important thing is that today's standards are pretty detailed and in place to protect young people," Pierce said. "There's nothing more important than to protect kids."
About 1,200 of the so-called "ineligible volunteer," or "perversion," files were put online by Portland, Ore., attorney Kelly Clark last month after the Oregon Supreme Court ordered their release. Three Delaware men and three men from Maryland's Eastern Shore are among them.
Also, Seattle attorney Tim Kosnoff has released a list summarizing the contents of about 1,900 files, including the names of five more Delaware men and two more men from Maryland's Eastern Shore. Kosnoff has not publicly released the complete files.
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