In the Nation

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu announces that he is leaving the Mitt Romney campaign because he is gay.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu announces that he is leaving the Mitt Romney campaign because he is gay. (DEIRDRE HAMILL / The Arizona Republic)
Posted: February 20, 2012

Scouts ordered to give files

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A judge overseeing a lawsuit brought by the family of a California boy molested by his troop leader in 2007 has ordered the Boy Scouts of America to hand over confidential files detailing allegations of sexual abuse by Scout leaders around the nation.

The Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge said last month that the organization must turn over the last 20 years' worth of records by Friday, with victims' names removed, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. The files will not be made public.

The documents have been maintained since the 1920s and are intended to keep suspected molesters and others accused of misconduct out of Scouting. Scouting officials deny that the files have been used to conceal sexual abuse.

The Santa Barbara case is significant because it seeks to unlock files that have never been turned over by the Scouts, including all since 2005. It also alleges wrongdoing that took place relatively recently, even as the Scouts have stepped up protective efforts. - AP

Avalanches kill 4 in Wash. state

SEATTLE - Avalanches just minutes apart killed four people at two resorts Sunday - one burying three skiers at Stevens Pass ski resort in the Cascade Mountains and another sweeping a snowboarder off a cliff in Snoqualmie, Wash. All four were in out-of-bounds areas of the resorts.

Just before noon, a snowboarder at Alpental, one of four areas at The Summit at Snoqualmie resort, was with two friends when he triggered an avalanche that caused him to fall about 500 feet over a cliff, authorities say.

Minutes later, 12 skiers in an ungroomed, out-of-bounds area at Stevens Pass resort were caught in an avalanche. Three of them did not respond to CPR and died, said Katie Larson, a spokeswoman with the King County Sheriff's Office. - Seattle Times

Sheriff quits Romney committee

FLORENCE, Ariz. - A nationally known sheriff resigned from presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's Arizona committee and acknowledged he was gay amid allegations of misconduct made by a man with whom he previously had a relationship.

But Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu vowed Saturday to continue his bid for the GOP nomination in Arizona's rural Fourth Congressional District race. He denied claims he tried to threaten the man, a Mexican immigrant and a former campaign volunteer, with deportation if their past relationship was made public. The man's allegations were first published Friday in the Phoenix New Times, an alternative weekly magazine.

Babeu, a first-term sheriff who has gained widespread attention with his strong opposition to illegal immigration and smuggling, said the accusations were an attempt to hurt his political career.

He said he had called presidential candidate Mitt Romney's staff to say he would step down from his post as state campaign cochairman. - AP

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