Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse Lawsuit


Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

On December 12, 2012, a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by a Delaware man in Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse LawsuitPhiladelphia County Court has accused Vance Hein, a former Boy Scouts of America official, of sexual abuse on many occasions in 1998 and 1999. Vance Hein worked as a scoutmaster at Mormon near Downingtown, Chester County and led many church-sponsored Scout troops in the United States and Canada. In 1999, he was sentenced to probation for 15 years after being found guilty of child sexual abuse. In 2011, the 61-year-old was sent to jail for 15-30 years, following discovery of child pornography material on his personal computer.

According to plaintiff Melvin Nowak, the 4 million-strong organization failed to act to prevent pedophiles working in the organization or warn parents of potential sexual abuse. Hein was the perfect embodiment of a Scout leader who continued to involve in pedophile acts due to failure of the Boy Scouts to track and remove such perpetrators. The former Scoutmaster was accused of sexual abuse while working in California before his appointment by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Scout leader in Pennsylvania.

The Scouts sex abuse lawsuit is the first such litigation in Pennsylvania after the release of more than 14,500 pages of secret "perversion files" by the Boy Scouts in October 2012. The files made public the names of perverted leaders thrown out of the organization in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s following accusations of sexual abuse and molestations. However, the Boy Scouts did not inform the police of any of these incidents and preferred to deal with it privately, which encouraged many such perpetrators to join the organization and continue their disgraced actions. There was also no mechanism in place to check and bar such leaders from joining the organization. All these have led many to accuse the Scouts of cover-up attempts at the cost of children joining the camps.

Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse Lawsuit: The Long History of Abuse

The Boy Scouts of America has reportedly noticed 3,000 sexual abuse incidents until 2010 despite putting in place a Youth Protection program in the 1980s. In 1982, Joe Gibson, a former Florida Scoutmaster, was found guilty of abusing the scout during trips. Lee Pontius, another former Florida Scoutmaster, was also convicted of molestation charges. An ex-Scoutmaster from College Park, Maryland, was pronounced guilty of charges of multiple cases of teen sexual abuse between 1984 and 1987. David McDonald Rankin had sex with scouts on knife point.

In 1996, a California Cub Scout leader Gary Lee Gephart was sentenced for molesting minor boys, who were less than 12 years of age. In 2008, a high profile sexual abuse lawsuit led to conviction of two former Texas Boy Scout leaders. Sixty-four-year-old Martin Turner was found guilty for indecent child contact and abuse of children in the 1960s. James Hiatt was convicted on nine counts of sexual abuse of a 12-year-old Scout between 2003 and 2005. In another Scouts sexual abuse lawsuit, ex- Massachusetts Scout leader and librarian Howard W. Curtis was sentenced for raping a 13-year-old victim and abusing two others.

Ex-Scoutmaster Brad Stowell was convicted in 2005 for molesting 24 scouts between 1989 and 1997. He was a serial offender previously sentenced in 1988 for molesting a 6-year-old. Authorities were informed of his action a number of times while he was at Camp Little Lemhi in Idaho; however, there was no action against him.

In 2011, it was reported that a California volunteer, Richard Turley, who was awarded 18-month probation after being found guilty of kidnapping and abusing a Canadian scout in the 1970s, was reappointed to the Scout camp after his release. He went on to abuse three more scouts in 1979 and four others in 1996 before being sent to jail for seven years.

Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse Lawsuit: Compensation

The Boy Scouts of America paid more than $15 million between 1986 and 1991 to settle 50 sexual abuse lawsuits, a report in the Washington Times claims. The organization again paid $61.9 million to settle hundreds of similar cases between 1991 and 2000.

In June 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court awarded $20 million compensation to six men, who sued the US Boy Scouts, holding it responsible for their sexual abuse by a scoutmaster in the 1980s. The sexual abuse lawsuit also led to the release of a 14,500-page document by the Scouts on the internal action taken on such complaints. In 2007, another set of documents presented before the Washington State Supreme Court revealed that at least 180 scout leaders were removed every year following molestation and abuse complaints.

2012 Los Angeles Times Investigation

In September 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that, in case of 80 percent sexual abuse cases, the Scout authorities allow victims to suffer and simply transfer the perpetrators without any action. Reporters examined more than 1,600 files and met hundreds of those who were abused during their childhood scout camps. One camp director from Michigan went on to say how he was prevented by higher authorities from reporting abuse complaints to the police. In many cases, the perpetrators were simply laid off from duty without any action and allowed to return after a few years.

1991 Washington Times Investigation

The Washington Times published a five-part report in 1991 on the Boy Scouts sexual abuse incidents. Entitled “Scouts Honor,” it showed how 350 Scout leaders were sacked between 1971 and 1986 because of misconduct and made public details of 50 Scout sexual abuse lawsuits filed in 20 US states. Reporters met 200 victims, lawyers, and Scout officials and highlighted that at least 1,151 Scouts suffered from sexual abuse by their leaders between 1975 and 1984. It concluded, “The Boy Scouts are a magnet for men who want to have sexual relations with children...Pedophiles join the Scouts for a simple reason: it’s where the boys are.”