The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the unprecedented public release of more than 1,200 confidential files that detail sexual abuse of Boy Scouts by their troop leaders and others within scouting over a 20-year span beginning in 1965.
The documents, also known as the “Ineligible Volunteer” or “perversion” files, are a subset of records that have been kept under lock and key by the Boys Scouts of America since the 1920s.
The 20,000 pages ordered unsealed Thursday had been introduced as evidence in a landmark Oregon lawsuit in 2010. A jury awarded a record $18.5 million to a man who was molested by an assistant scoutmaster in the early 1980s, ruling that the Scouts failed to protect him.
Afterward, the Boy Scouts of America petitioned the trial court to keep the files closed, a move opposed by media outlets seeking their full disclosure. The dispute wound up before the state Supreme Court, which on Thursday sided with the Oregonian newspaper, The Associated Press, The New York Times, Oregon Public Broadcasting and other outlets.
The court ordered the files be made public after the names of victims and others who reported sexual abuse are redacted. It was not immediately known how long that process would take.
Texas tycoon gets 110 years for role in $7B swindle
HOUSTON — Former jet-setting Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford had plenty of things to say Thursday before a federal judge sentenced him to 110 years in prison for bilking investors out of more than $7 billion over two decades.
An apology was not one of them.
In a defiant, rambling statement that lasted more than 40 minutes, Stanford told the court about the injuries he suffered during a prison fight; criticized the government for its “gestapo tactics” when his companies were put in receivership and their assets sold off to pay back investors; described his financial empire as a victim of the 2008 credit collapse; and recalled riding horses with former President George W. Bush.
“I am and will always be at peace with the way I conducted myself in business,” he said before the judge handed down the sentence.
Prosecutors said Stanford, 62, used the money from investors who bought certificates of deposit, or CDs, from his bank on the Caribbean island nation of Antigua to fund a string of failed businesses, bribe regulators and pay for a lavish lifestyle that included yachts, a fleet of private jets and sponsorship of cricket tournaments. The one-time billionaire was convicted in March on 13 of 14 fraud-related counts in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.
CDC: Motorcycle helmet laws reduce deaths
ATLANTA — Fewer motorcyclists die in states that require helmets, and the costs to society are lower too, according to a new federal study released Thursday.
About five times as many no-helmet biker deaths occur in states with less restrictive laws, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found.
CDC researchers looked at a government tally of fatal traffic crashes. They focused on 2008 through 2010 and counted 14,283 deaths of motorcyclists. That included 6,057 bikers with no helmet. Only about 12 percent of those deaths occurred in the 20 states that required everyone on motorbikes to wear helmets.
When the study was done, three states — Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire — had no helmet law and another 27 only required helmets for teenagers or certain other riders.
Twenty states had universal motorcycle helmet laws, but Michigan changed its law this year. Now riders older than 21 can ride without a helmet if they meet certain requirements, including carrying an additional $20,000 in medical insurance.
Motorcycle enthusiasts have argued they should have the freedom to wear a helmet or not.
According to the CDC, motorcycles account for about 3 percent of the registered vehicles on the road. But about 14 percent of the people who die in traffic accidents are motorcyclists.
Exhausted Suu Kyi falls ill during news conference
BERN, Switzerland — A rock star welcome greeted Aung San Suu Kyi as she embarked on her first trip to Europe in 24 years. But after a whirlwind of standing ovations, speeches and receptions, she fell ill Thursday during a news conference in Switzerland.
The 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate became sick shortly after saying how exhausted she was after her long trip from Asia to Europe, which brought her to Geneva late Wednesday night. It was not known how her apparent exhaustion would affect the rest of a tightly packed schedule that includes delivering her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo on Saturday, 21 years after winning the award.
The United Nations in Geneva was the first stop of her two-week European tour. Her appearance at a U.N. labor conference — an unlikely venue for glitz and glamor — had starry-eyed functionaries reaching for their camera phones to snap a picture as she smiled and shook hands with well-wishers.
Suu Kyi endured 15 years of house arrest in Myanmar and once feared permanent exile if she ever left the country.