Banned Scouts List Contains Former Sparta Priest
William Cramer, who pleaded guilty to improperly touching boys, part of files kept secret for decades by the Boy Scouts of America.
The name of a former Sparta priest is among thousands of Boy Scout leaders across the country, and more than 100 in New Jersey, on a confidential list kept for decades by the organization to document suspected molesters within their ranks.
Rev. William Cramer's name appears on the list, known colloquially to Boy Scouts executives as the "Perversion Files."
Cramer pleaded guilty in 1988 to two count of endangering the welfare of a child. Cramer was a priest at Our Lady of the Lake in Sparta when he was indicted during the 80s on charges he touched two township boys.
Catholic Church officials also said in 2002 they had reassigned him to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson after the case, but then removed him from the position later that year.
Cramer's case was among the top stories of the decade, according to the Daily Record.
National Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith told NJ.com that the list, intended to keep suspected molesters out of Scouting, had been largely successful, citing 175 instances in which blacklisted volunteers who later tried to rejoin the Scouting ranks, sometimes in different parts of the country, were rejected.
According to a review of the list by the Los Angeles Times, however, many blacklisted members were not barred from having further contact with Scouts, and in many cases, alleged molestations were concealed by the organization.
The recent glimpse into the Scouts' confidential list has been made possible by the efforts of Seattle-based attorney Timothy Kosnoff, who has sued the Boy Scouts on behalf of more than 100 alleged abuse victims and gained access to the records as court evidence.
Last week, he published on his website the names of nearly 1,900 men blacklisted by the Boy Scouts between 1970 and 1991, many of whom were never reported to police or prosecuted.
Kosnoff also has released an additional 3,200 case summaries detailing suspected abuse within the Boy Scouts' ranks between 1947 and January 2005, excluding the names of alleged perpetrators. The Los Angeles Times has created a searchable online database with all of the alleged abuse information supplied by Kosnoff, totaling about 5,000 records.
On Thursday afternoon, another 1,200 files from between 1965 and 1985, are set to be released by Oregon Supreme Court order that should shed further light on the long history of alleged abuse within the Boy Scouts of America.
Even with much of the data now public, alleged abusers who have not already been prosecuted will not likely be held accountable. Chief Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor Joseph Del Russo told NorthJersey.com that it's unlikely any of the details released will be legally permissible in prosecuting old abuse cases or allowing victims to sue their alleged abusers.