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The refusal of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to conduct criminal background checks on all volunteers until 2008 allowed convicted child sex offenders to join the organization and led to a significant amount of alleged sexual abuse of youths, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of confidential BSA files. The BSA – one of the oldest and largest youth groups in the United States – admitted more than 230 men to Scouting with previous arrests or convictions for sex crimes against children who were accused of molesting nearly 400 boys in Scouting from 1985 to 1991. The Times also reported previously expelled men slipped back into the program to molest again and that BSA officials failed to report hundreds of alleged abusers to police and often hid allegations from parents and the public. While background checks became required for Scouting employees in 1994 and mandatory for all new volunteers in 2004, the BSA refused to conduct checks on current volunteers who were already in the organization until four years later. According to the Times, BSA officials argued background checks would cost too much, scare away volunteers, and provide a false sense of security and they successfully lobbied to kill state legislation that would have mandated FBI fingerprint screening.

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