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The Boston Globe

Nation

Calif. court orders Boy Scout files opened

LOS ANGELES — The Boy Scouts of America must release two decades of files detailing sexual abuse allegations after the California Supreme Court refused the organization’s bid to keep the records confidential.

A Santa Barbara County court ruled last year that the files must be turned over to attorneys representing a former Scout who claims a leader molested him in 2007, when he was 13. That leader later was convicted of felony child endangerment.

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Last week, the state Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the Boy Scouts to halt the files’ release.

The former Scout’s lawsuit says that the files, which date to 1991 and involve allegations from across the nation, will expose a ‘‘culture of hidden sexual abuse’’ that the Scouts had concealed.

The Boys Scouts of America has denied the allegations and argued that the files should remain confidential to protect the privacy of victims and of those wrongly accused.

‘‘The BSA will comply fully with the order, but maintains that the files are not relevant to this suit’’ and won’t be made public unless used as evidence in the case, a spokesman said.

It’s not clear how soon the files will become public. They are covered by a judge’s protective order and cannot be revealed until they become part of the open court record in the former Scout’s lawsuit.

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