Former Boy Scouts still struggle to cope with the abuse they suffered at the hands of Scout leaders, and those who are willing to tell the stories of their abuse have come to feel abandoned by an organization considered a pillar of American society.

“There are so many victims who have suffered in silence. Marriages and relationships with their kids have suffered,” said Tom Stewart, a 46-year-old engineer for Boeing who was sexually abused by his Scoutmaster in Washington state from age 8 to 18.


The Stewarts are angry that the Boy Scouts of America have fought to keep confidential thousands of files the organization has kept since the early 1900s on suspected pedophiles within their ranks. The Stewarts say releasing the files decades ago would have helped stop pedophiles.


“The Scouts have sat on these files for nearly 100 years,” said 47-year-old Matt Stewart, who lives in Palm Desert, Calif., where he is a pharmaceutical salesman.

“They did nothing. They turned their back. They claimed ignorance. In most cases, they never contacted the police. There is no more callous neglect of children’s rights,” said Tom Stewart, 50, who lives in Enumclaw, Wash.