The so-called Perversion Files have been kept at Boy Scout headquarters in Texas for nearly a century. They include memos from local and national officers, handwritten letters from victims, and legal information, all about scout leaders' misconduct.
Thursday's release of two decades' worth of files is a window to what happened inside one of America's greatest institutions, and the release includes dozens of cases from Illinois.
Fourteen thousand five hundred pages were released after the way was cleared by the Oregon Supreme Court. They tell a sordid story of scouts being molested, trusts violated and an organization going to extremes to cover it up. At least 70 scout leaders from Illinois are named, most in metro Chicago.
The files released Thursday detail accusations, allegations, charges and actions in the 1960's, 70's and 80's.
In a third of the cases, police were never even notified. Sometimes it was too late.
Consider the case of a man found Thursday in the files by the ABC7 I-Team: Gwenn "Slinky" Hale of Chicago.
According to the file, he was newly on parole when hired by the Boy Scouts here. In 1982 records show he was convicted for armed violence, indecent liberties and deviant sexual assault with a teenage boy and received a 16-year sentence; 1993: convicted again, for aggravated criminal sexual assault with a victim under the age of 13. This time, he received a 40-year sentence which he is still serving.
The I-Team also found another man: Paul Scott Koefoot of Evanston. In 1983, Koefoot's file shows that he molested a boy at a scout camp, but no charges were filed. The boy's parents demanded he be let go, which he was. In 1984, he was convicted of sexual assault; and in 1998, again, of sexual assault with a child, all after moving to Nebraska.
The director of the Boy Scouts in Chicago Thursday night says things have changed.
"Whatever happened in the past, we're sorry for, but we've gone a great deal to make sure that every kid is safe when they participate in the scouting program," said Charles Dobbins, CEO, Chicago Scout Council.
The national president of the Boy Scouts Thursday echoed that, saying that there are cases where the organization failed to live up to standards, failed to properly document cases, and fell short in other ways.