The Boy Scouts of America are facing yet another lawsuit alleging <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/New_York_Child_Sexual_Abuse">child sexual abuse at the hands of a scoutmaster. This time, the lawsuit was filed by four former Oregon Boy Scouts who claim they were abused in the 1970s by a now-convicted pedophile.
According to a report from Reuters, over the past several years, a total of 35 individuals have filed child sexual abuse lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America in 11 states. Just last year, the Boy Scouts were ordered to pay nearly $20 million in damages last year in another Oregon lawsuit involving child sexual abuse allegations from the 1980s.
This newest lawsuit was filed by four men who say they were molested use by Steven T. Hill in 1976 and 1977, according to the Associated Press. At the time the alleged abuse occurred, the men were between 12 and 15 years old. Their lawsuit charges the Boy Scout’s Portland branch knew Hill was a threat but did nothing to stop him. The complaint, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland, accuses the national Boy Scouts organization of negligence and fraud, Reuters said. The lawsuit seeks $5 million in damages for each victim.
According to the Associated Press, Hill, now 62, was released from prison in April after having served a two-decade sentence that he began serving in 1991 on other child sexual abuse charges. Reuters is reporting that Hill was acquitted in the late 1970s of sex abuse charges related to the Boy Scouts in Portland.
According to the Oregon Boy Scout sexual abuse lawsuit, Hill had been accused of abusing a California Boy Scout in 1975. When he moved to Portland, the Boy Scout’s California branch warned officials in Oregon about the accusation, but he was allowed to serve as a scoutmaster anyway. The plaintiffs’ lawyers told the Associated Press that there is sufficient documentation, including a deposition given by Hill in prison, to show the California branch had been in touch with Oregon Scout officials about the earlier abuse accusation.
This is just the latest high-profile sexual abuse allegation to hit the Boy Scouts in recent years. Just last year, a jury in Oregon awarded $18.5 million to a former a Boy Scout who alleged that he had been abused at the hands of assistant scoutmaster Timur Dykes in the 1980s. As we reported previously, Dykes told a bishop from the Boy Scoutsâ€™ sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1983 that he had molested 17 Scouts. He was eventually convicted of various abuse charges and spent time in prison. The lawsuit claimed the Boy Scouts were reckless for allowing Dykes to continue to associate with young Scouts even after his admission to the bishop.
The lawyer representing the four plaintiffs in the new Oregon lawsuit told Reuters that the publicity from the Dykes trial has prompted scores other former Scouts to come forward with abuse claims. Just last week, the same attorney filed suit on behalf of five women who say they were sexually abused in the 1970s by the leader of a coed Scouting program in Montana. According to the Associated Press, the Dykes case was cited by one of those plaintiffs as a “memory trigger.”