PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless says it appears that no one involved in local allegations of sexual abuse against Boy Scouts of America leaders attempted to contact law enforcement. The two allegations involve a North Adams scoutmaster in 1976 and a Pittsfield scoutmaster in 1963.
"It's pretty sad that nothing was done to protect the victims in any of these cases," Capeless said on Friday.
New documents from a lawsuit over Boy Scout leaders who were suspected of sexually abusing children reveal more than 1,200 cases that the organization kept quiet from the public, but maintained detailed files on.
The files, compiled from 1959 to 1985, were released publicly Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court. The files were used as evidence in an Oregon lawsuit in 2010 that resulted in the largest judgment ever against the Boy Scouts in a molestation case.
The Scouts tried to keep the files secret but media outlets opposed the move and in June the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that they should be made public after the redaction of victim information.
The files include at least 55 accused people from Massachusetts, including the two within Berkshire County. New England Newspapers is not currently releasing the names of the two men as neither had or have criminal charges against them. One of the local cases was reported in 1963, and the other was in 1976.
In Massachusetts, the statute
"There are exceptions to the statute of limitations," said Capeless. He wouldn't elaborate what those exceptions might be.
Capeless said an individual would have to come forward for the case to be investigated by his office. Besides this, he said, prosecutors would have to then discuss the case and determine if it was able to be prosecuted.
Capeless urged anyone who has been abused, whether it involved the Boy Scout organization or not, to come forward and speak to the DA's office.
"We're here for all victims," said Capeless. "Even if we can't prosecute a case, we can still provide them with other services or point them in the direction of services they may need."
In Berkshire County, the 1963 file involves allegations of sexual abuse on boys by a Pittsfield scoutmaster during camping trips. Parents reported the abuse claims, and when confronted, the scoutmaster resigned. New England Newspapers has learned the man has since died.
The other file, from 1976, documented claims that a North Adams scoutmaster fondled and groped a boy during a camping trip. The scoutmaster, a North Adams man at the time, was relieved from duty and banned from the Boy Scouts. At the time, he denied the incident happened.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.