Article from DailyPress.com
A Texas man who lodged sexual abuse allegations against two Boy Scout leaders in the 1980s is suing the Boy Scouts of America after one of those men molested Scouts in York County decades later.
In July 2014, Thomas G. Seifert — then an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 226 in York — was charged with sexually abusing three Boy Scouts, with investigators saying the abuse took place both at his Meadowfield Road home and in a shed at a local pool where Seifert worked as the snack shack manager.
Though Seifert, now 59, was initially charged with 30 felony counts of taking indecent liberties with minors, he pleaded guilty to 12 counts in an October 2014 plea agreement. He’s now at the tail end of a three-year sentence at a state prison in Haynesville, scheduled for release in January after good behavior credits and time served awaiting trial.
Now, a 49-year-old Austin, Texas, man has filed a $4 million civil lawsuit in Hawaii, asserting that Seifert sexually assaulted him during a 1982 camping trip on a U.S. Air Force base in Japan, and that another Scout leader sexually assaulted him more than 20 times in the early 1980s in both Hawaii and Japan.
After the plaintiff filed complaints against both Scout leaders in 1988, the lawsuit says, the Boy Scouts of America assured him that both men would be forever barred from Scouting. That Seifert was able to lead the York troop, the lawsuit says, is a failure of the organization.
“BSA had a duty to implement effective policies and procedures to address and to prevent ongoing and future child molestation by its employees, representatives and agents,” the suit’s complaint states. The “failure to do so,” it adds, is “contrary to representations and promises made to families of children entrusted to it. … Such failures also continued through 2014, when Seifert was arrested for molesting Boy Scouts in Virginia.”
The Daily Press’ policy is typically not to name sexual assault victims. The lawsuit is filed anonymously, with the plaintiff’s name listed as “John Roe.”
Seifert — a former civilian employee at Langley Air Force Base after years of active duty — began volunteering with York’s Troop 226 about 2003, York deputies said. After Seifert was arrested in 2014, the Daily Press called the Texas man asking for comment about the York case.
“The revelation … that Seifert was still involved in Scouting and sexually abused numerous boys despite the BSA’s promise to Plaintiff in 1988 caused enormous psychological pain and injury” to him, the suit contends. He’s “wracked with guilt,” the suit says, because “as a survivor who reported the abuse, he now faces the fact that his actions did not prevent Seifert from molesting more Boy Scouts.”
Most of the Hawaii lawsuit’s allegations pertain to the other Scout leader, who the lawsuit contends sexually assaulted the then-teen more than 20 times in both Honolulu and Okinawa, Japan. The suit asserts that the Boy Scouts of America “should have known” he “was a pedophile” and “posed significant danger” to Scouts, but failed to properly vet him.
In 1982, Seifert — then in his 20s and stationed at the U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa — also met the plaintiff, who was then 14 and whose father was also stationed at the airbase. The plaintiff said he and Seifert were alone on an overnight camping trip on the base when he awoke in the middle of the night to Seifert sexually abusing him in a tent.
It took six years to tell his mother what happened, he said. She complained to the Boy Scouts in May 1988.
Neither Seifert nor the other leader were charged criminally on the 1980s allegations — even as the plaintiff said he also filed complaints with Air Force investigators in 1988 and again in 2014. Seifert could not be reached for comment for this story through a Department of Corrections spokeswoman, while the other Scout leader didn’t return a phone message.
In July 2014, Seifert was arrested by York County deputies after three teens alleged he abused them both at his home and in a shed at the Edgehill Pool, off Route 17.
One teen told investigators that Seifert “used completing merit badges as an excuse” to give massages. Another said he gave him massages as a “punishment” for failing to complete merit badges. (The Boy Scouts use merit badges to mark advancements).
The lawsuit names as defendants the Boy Scouts of America, a local Scouts’ council in Hawaii and the other Scout leader. Though Seifert is not a defendant, he’s cited as part of the case against the Scouts. The plaintiff’s lawyer, Paul Mones of Los Angeles, said Seifert isn’t a defendant because the camping trip took place in Japan — not Hawaii where the suit was filed.
In a response to the Hawaii lawsuit, the Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, said it can’t discuss ongoing litigation, but that “any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable.”
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members, and we are profoundly saddened when anyone uses their position to harm children,” the statement said, adding the organization’s “deepest sympathies” to anyone hurt by such abuse.
The Boy Scouts said Seifert and the other leader were placed on the Scouts’ “ineligible volunteer” list after the 1988 complaint. But in 2014, “we learned that one of these individuals was able to re-enroll in Scouting years later because of inconsistencies in his name.”
The Daily Press has found that several of the Boy Scouts’ documents from the 1980s case often misspelled Seifert’s name as “Siefert” — with one Scouting official acknowledging in an internal letter in 1988 that he was unsure of the right spelling.
The Boy Scouts of America says it’s greatly enhanced its safety program in the last 30 years, including, among other things, changes in the leadership selection process, better training. and new procedures to ensure the prompt reporting of abuse.
The organization also now has rules stipulating that adult leaders can’t be alone with a Boy Scout.
The Texas plaintiff, who is an Eagle Scout and whose teenage son is now in Scouting, said the spelling inconsistencies are no excuse.
That the Scouts were later able to track down Seifert at an Alaska Air Force base after his 1988 complaint, he said, proves that they had access to the correct spelling.
“They should have been able to figure it out,” he said. “There should have been traceability. Somebody should have done their homework and figured it out.”
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.