By Adam Rodriguez
TREASURE VALLEY – A former Nampa boy scout is claiming he was sexually abused by a leader in the 1960’s. He says the Boy Scouts and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to protect him from a predator.
Now, 40 years later, he’s suing both organizations for $5 million.
The former scout’s attorney was in Boise Thursday to talk about the lawsuit.
“He trusted his youth leader, his priesthood leader, who was also a boy scout leader. And that person badly betrayed his trust,” said Kelly Clark, of the Portland lawfirm O’Donnell and Clark, Attorneys at Law.
‘That person’ was allegedly Larren Arnold. The lawsuit alleges Arnold was the victim’s scout leader in the Nampa Second Ward in the late 1960’s. It’s not the first time he’s been accused of abuse. In 1985, Arnold pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of child sex abuse in Bannock County. But the lawsuit isn’t going after Arnold.
“If you put the fox in the chicken coop, you can’t blame the fox for doing what foxes do. You blame is the farmer. In this case, the farmer is the Boy Scouts and the Church,” Clark said.
The Ore-Ida Council of the Boy Scouts of America issued a written statement from scout executive David Kemper. It reads:
"Although we have heard of the litigation being brought against the Boy Scouts and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have not received the complaint… However the safety of children is the highest priority of the Boy Scouts of America."
J Craig Rowe, Idaho area public affairs director for the LDS Church, issued this statement:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a zero tolerance policy for child abuse and does all it can to help victims and report abuse. It will seriously investigate these decades’ old allegations."
Clark said both organizations are responsible for the abuse. When asked if it’s fair to make an organization police its members, he said, “Are we asking that the Church and the Scouts be responsible for failing to police everything, or are we asking that they be liable because they didn’t do the very obvious thing of reporting it once they knew it was going on? We think it’s the latter situation.”