Attorney claims Boy Scouts of America has files that detail decades of sexual abuse allegations

NEW YORK - An attorney in New York says the Boy Scouts of America has files going back to the 1940s that document allegations of sexual abuse by thousands of scout leaders.

Attorney Jeff Anderson held a press conference he held Tuesday morning that the files kept by the Boy Scouts of America are called "perversion files" by the organization, and that a witness in a trial earlier this year revealed under oath that nearly 8,000 Scout leaders have been accused of sexually abusing more than 12,000 minors.

What makes this of particular interest in New York state is the Child Protection Act which takes effect on August 14 and extends the statute of limitations for crimes against children.

While the Boy Scouts may have reported these allegations to law enforcement, Anderson said the organization had a duty to inform the community in which these leaders lived and worked.

In a written statement, the Boy Scouts of America says it has never "knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth," and that it mandates any abuse allegation is immediately reported to law enforcement agencies.

"Those 'perversion files' that they've had reflect that they have removed thousands of offenders of childhood sexual abuse over the years and they've kept that in files secretly," said Anderson. "And they may have removed them from Scouting... they may have kept them in their 'perversion files'... but they never alerted the community that this teacher, this coach, this Scout leader, who was also a priest or an electrician, is known to them to be a child molester that caused them to keep a 'perversion file' on him. And that is the real alarming fact."

Anderson goes on to say that, "The statute of limitations in New York has now been removed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor. And survivors now have a chance to have that voice heard, acknowledged, affirmed, believed, supported ... and take some action to reveal his or her offender in the community ... and the system and the institution that chose to protect that offender, which includes the Boy Scouts of America."

NBC News