Friday, May 21, 2010
TAMPA – Friday, three Bay Area families filed a civil lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and a local chapter. A former scout master of West Central Florida Council’s Troop 60 was convicted last year of sexually abusing their kids.
The lawsuit accuses the Boy Scouts of negligence and failing to teach troop leaders and parents about its own Youth Protection Program. The guidelines are in place to protect children from abuse. The civil suit says it’s could’ve all been prevented.
For a century, the Boy Scouts of America has been a symbol of trust, promising to instill in young boys morals and values to last a lifetime. A Bay Area mother says instead, the Scouts destroyed her son’s life.
"I trusted that he was in good hands. I trusted that he would learn life skills. Instead he was being manipulated and violated in ways inconceivable," said Jennifer, who is keeping her last name private to protect her son.
Between 2005 and 2007, Scout Master Steven Greenleaf sexually molested Jennifer’s 9-year-old son and two other boys both during and outside of scouting activities in New Port Richey.
Greenleaf is serving a 12 year sentence. But this is far from over.
"Steven Greenleaf is a monster and so are the Boy Scouts and their chapters because they failed to protect our children," said Jennifer, standing outside of the Pinellas County Courthouse with her attorneys.
"We know that Steven Greenleaf was allowed to run essentially unsupervised with these kids. That’s against Boy Scout policy. They have a two deep rule. An adult is never supposed to be alone with the child. They didn’t follow that here," said Attorney Kelly Clark, who has litigated at least a dozen cases against the Boy Scouts of America.
A spokesman for the West Central Florida Council refused comment and said the lawsuit hadn’t been served yet. Meanwhile, a hurt single mother says instead of finding a father figure, her son lost his childhood.
"His hopes and dreams and goals have vanished and the worst part of all is that all of this could’ve been prevented by following simple guidelines," said Jennifer.
In a separate case, the Boy Scouts of America is accused of covering up decades of sexual abuse. Attorneys are fighting to make public thousands of the organization’s files they believe are proof.
Last month, a Portland, Oregon jury that viewed the files awarded a former scout 18.5 million dollars in his sex abuse case against the Boy Scouts.
Clark was the attorney in that case.