Article from The Oregonian.
A former Portland Boy Scout who grew up to become a member of the national media — and whose news coverage focused on the Boy Scouts of America’s dark history of sexual abuse — filed a $7 million lawsuit Monday against the youth organization.
The suit states that the former Scout was sexually abused by his Scoutmaster in 1963 when he was 10 years old — and that he came to terms with the abuse after he walked into a Portland news conference in 2012 to see boxes containing confidential files on more than 1,200 adult volunteers. The youth organization had banned the volunteers from scouting under allegations of molesting children over two decades.
Although the youth organization fought their release, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered that the files be made public in 2012.
“Seeing those files, something happened,” said the former Scout, in a news release from his lawyers Monday. “I was devastated seeing those boxes that represented the suffering of so many boys. All of the sudden, I knew I couldn’t stay silent anymore about what I had experienced as a Boy Scout. I started therapy and eventually realized I needed to do something about this.”
The plaintiff in Monday’s lawsuit is not an employee of The Oregonian/OregonLive.
The former Scout, identified by the pseudonym “Michael Doe” in the lawsuit, was a member of a troop that met at the former school, Lynch School, in the Centennial School District area, according to Doe’s lawyers Peter Janci, Steve Crew and Hollis McMilan.
The troop went on camping and hiking trips in the Eagle Creek wilderness of the Columbia River Gorge and the Old Maid Flats area of Mount Hood, according to Doe’s lawyers. It was on troop outings that Scoutmaster Robert “Bob” Booth (aka “Boothe”) sexually abused Doe, according to the lawsuit.
Doe was abused on several occasions — and the abuse stopped after Booth punched Doe, and Doe left the troop for good, his lawyers say.
Doe’s lawyers say he didn’t report his allegations of abuse to police, and it’s unknown whether Booth was allowed to continue in Scouting or was kicked out by the organization. The lawyers know of no confidential file that the Boy Scouts of America might have created on Booth but will ask that question as part of discovery for this lawsuit.
Doe’s lawyers don’t know if Booth is still alive, or where he might be living. Booth couldn’t be reached by The Oregonian/OregonLive.
The lawsuit faults the Boy Scouts of America, based in Texas, and its local branch, the Cascade Pacific Council, for allegedly failing to protect Doe from child abuse when the organization had known since at least 1935 that pedophiles were using the organization to prey on children, according to the lawsuit. The suit also claims that the youth organization failed to take training and education measures to prevent the abuse.
The Boy Scouts of America has implemented strict youth protection training and requirements in more recent history — such as a 1991 rule that no adult be left alone with children without another adult present and a 2008 rule that all registered volunteers must undergo a criminal background check. But Doe and his attorneys say the youth organization has not done enough.
Janci said his client wants to continue to put pressure on the youth organization to release more so-called “confidential files.”
“We know there are more than 2,000 secret files from the 1990s and 2000s that the Boy Scouts have still never publicly released,” Janci said. “Each one represents a Scout Leader reported for child sexual abuse — many of those individuals were never reported to police and may still be in the community, abusing children today.”
The Boy Scouts of America couldn’t immediately respond for comment Monday.
The lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Read the suit here.
If you or someone you care about was sexually abused and you would like advice from an attorney about the rights and options for victims of child sexual abuse, please contact Crew Janci LLP today for a free, confidential consultation at 1-888-407-0224 or by using our private online form. We will treat you with discretion and respect.