In a lawsuit filed last Friday in Ingham County, Michigan, two unnamed plaintiffs allege that the Boy Scouts of America and the Chief Okemos Council are liable for sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of a scout leader between 2005 and 2007. The alleged perpetrator, a now-deceased assistant scout master, had been charged in 2009 with first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct and possession of child pornography. The assistant scout leader, Roger Ellison Young, committed suicide shortly before his trial on those charges. At the time of the alleged abuse, the plaintiffs were 8 and 11 years old. As of Friday, the lawsuit had not been served on the defendants, and their representatives have accordingly refused comment.
These are not the first claims of sexual abuse leveled at the Boy Scouts. A little over a year ago, an Oregon jury awarded more than $18.5 million to a man abused by a troop leader in the early 1980s at the age of 12. That case brought to light the existence of so-called “perversion files” – evidence that the Boy Scouts knew about abusive troop leaders and tried to cover up incidents to protect the organization. According to the testimony of an executive, the Boy Scouts were still collecting this information as recently as March of 2010.
If the allegations of the Michigan case are true, it is another deplorable example of a large organization failing to protect those charged to its care. Like many survivors of clergy sex abuse, it appears these innocent children were handed over to known perpetrators. Hopefully, public outcry at this despicable pattern of denying and covering up wrong doing will cause these practices to end, and the responsible entities will do the right thing and provide fair and just compensation for their innocent victims.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.