BOISE – An Idaho man is suing the Boy Scouts of America for failing to warn children who took part in the youth program that they could be exposed to sex abusers.
The man, who uses the name Mark Doe 14 in the federal lawsuit because he was a victim of child sex abuse, said an assistant troop leader raped and sexually abused him when he was 11 or 12 years old and threatened to kill his family if he reported the abuse.
Doe was a member of the Mountain West Council of the Boy Scouts for a troop in Gooding, Idaho, in the 1970s and 1980s, the lawsuit said. A spokesperson for the Mountain West Council was out of the office and couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
The trauma of the abuse left Doe with permanent and progressive pain, suffering and disability, he said. A phone number for the assistant scout leader could not be located and it wasn’t clear if he was still living or in Idaho.
Doe said in the lawsuit that by the time he joined, the Boy Scouts of America was well aware of the danger boys faced, because there was a longstanding and internally documented problem with volunteers sexually abusing them. Still, Doe said, BSA kept that knowledge from parents and children who participated in the organization and failed to take effective steps to root out abusers and keep the children safe.
The BSA has faced hundreds of lawsuits across the country from adults who said they were molested as children by scout leaders and other volunteers. Last year the BSA filed for bankruptcy, hoping to halt the lawsuits and create a compensation fund for victims.
Earlier this month, the BSA reached an $850 million agreement with attorneys representing some 60,000 victims of child sex abuse as part of the organization’s bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy filing includes the BSA, abuse victims, local Boy Scouts councils and lawyers appointed to represent victims who might file future claims.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the new lawsuit from Doe would be affected by the agreement.
At least 13 other people have brought similar lawsuits against the BSA and Mountain West Council in Idaho’s federal courts in recent years. The BSA has filed a motion in asking that those claims be put on hold until the bankruptcy proceedings are finalized.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.