NORTHEAST OHIO (WOIO) - The Boy Scouts of America are now embroiled in decades of sexual abuse allegations that were leveled against troop leaders and volunteers.
A recent audit of the Boy Scouts’ internal files regarding investigations into those accusations showed there could be as many as 12,000 possible victims over the years.
19 News looked into those files, and we found several cases tied to men from Northeast Ohio, most of them dating back to the 1970s and 80s.
Among them, Curtis Whiton, who served as an Amherst cubmaster until 1983. According to the so-called “perversion files,” he was forced out after several adults overheard a group of boys talking about how they had watched pornography at his home.
Whiton’s case was added to the file, but not reported by the Boy Scouts to police.
Not long after that, though, a victim and his mother reported the abuse, and police charged Whiton with multiple counts of sexual assault and rape involving at least seven members of his former troop.
He was convicted of rape and is now serving time in an Ohio prison, with the possibility of 100 years behind bars.
A Lorain man, James Bodak, is also featured in the files. He served as a Boy Scout volunteer in the 70s, until multiple boys accused him of improper conduct, including alleged instances of molesting them at home.
He pleaded guilty to criminal charges, but the Boy Scouts never revealed their internal information, until a court-ordered a document release of almost all the data from their confidential files in 2012.
Since then, Boy Scouts of America ordered an internal audit of its own files, which showed there could be more victims and more abusers than previously released. An attorney for several of the alleged victims, based in New York, said in a press conference on Tuesday that more lawsuits could be coming
The Boy Scout local chapter did not want to speak on camera, but referred 19 News to a national statement, “sincerely apologizing” for any harm that came to any member during their time with the organization.