By Aimee Green,
The Oregonian

October 26, 2009

A man who claims he was molested by a Boy Scouts’ camp ranger in the 1970s is suing the organization for $5.15 million.

The man, who is now in his late 40s, says he was in his early teens when the ranger of the former Camp Mallard in Oregon sexually abused him during visits on weekends and in the summer. The suit claims that Edward Elston  sometimes gave his victim — identified only by the initials S.M. — money to keep quiet or threatened to hurt him if he told.

Elston was not charged with a crime. The plaintiff’s attorney, Kelly Clark,  said he believes Elston is dead.

The suit was filed Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. It is one of 11 filed in Oregon against the Boy Scouts of America by Clark in the last few years, on behalf of clients who say they were molested as children. All the suits are still pending.

S.M.’s suit claims that the Boy Scouts organization knew at least by the 1960s that pedophiles were using their scouting positions to victimize children and that the problem was institution-wide. "Despite this knowledge, these defendants did not implement adequate child sex abuse policies" by the time S.M. joined the Scouts.

The man didn’t realize how deeply the abuse had affected him psychologically until 2008, after extensive therapy sessions, Clark said.  

The Cascade Pacific Council, which is also named as a defendant in the suit, couldn’t be reached for immediate comment.

— Aimee Green