Boy Scout Leaders Accused of Sexual Abuse: Miami-Dade Lawsuit - NBC 6 South Florida

Boy Scout Leaders Accused of Sexual Abuse: Miami-Dade Lawsuit

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    Boy Scout Leaders Accused of Sex Abuse in Miami-Dade

    A man who claims he was sexually abused by a scoutmaster when he was a Boy Scout in Miami-Dade some 30 years ago has filed a lawsuit. NBC 6's Ari Odzer reports. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014)

    A man who claims he was sexually abused by a scoutmaster when he was a Boy Scout in Miami-Dade some 30 years ago has filed a lawsuit.

    The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against Boy Scouts of America and South Florida Boy Scouts Council, claims the victim, identified as "GE DOE," was sexually abused during scouting events and at the homes of two scout leaders.

    An official with the South Florida Boy Scouts told NBC 6 he was unaware of the lawsuit but was looking into it. The two scout leaders accused of the abuses are not named as defendants in the lawsuit.

    According to the lawsuit, GE DOE, who is now 40, had met the two men in 1983 or 1984. The men gave GE Doe and other scouts alcohol and showed them pornography, and molested them during scouting events and at the mens' houses, the lawsuit alleges.

    “The TY Park incident was the beginning of me realizing something wasn’t right with this, but you repress it and you don’t say things because it’s a scout leader and you’re eight-years-old,” the victim said. “My only regret is that the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution has since expired.”

    The men encouraged members of the boy scout troop to skinny dip, run around naked and bathe in a Jacuzzi naked, the lawsuit alleges.

    The lawsuit claims officials with the Boy Scouts were aware that the two men "were engaging in inappropriate relations with boys and/or had a propensity to engage in sexual misconduct, but did nothing to prevent them from engaging in these activities."

    It also claims the Boy Scouts took steps to conceal the alleged abuse after finding out about it.

    “We don’t know yet what was known at the corporate level in Dallas, but we know they are leaders in the scouting organization and knew of each other’s behaviors,” said attorney Adam Horowitz.

    “I think what makes me angry is that the people who perpetrated this were arrogant enough to think that at some point we were not going to turn into adults and connect the dots and realize what happened,” the victim said.

    As a result of the alleged abuse, GE DOE suffered emotional and psychological injuries, the lawsuit claims. The suit is seeking damages in excess of $15,000.

    The Boy Scouts of America’s director of communications, Deron Smith, issued a statement about the lawsuit: “While we can’t discuss the lawsuit, the behavior included in these allegations runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands.

    Recognizing youth protection requires sustained vigilance, in the decades since these alleged incidents took place we have continued to develop and enhance our efforts to protect youth, regularly consulting with experts from law enforcement, child safety, psychology, and other disciplines to ensure its efforts consistently evolve along with the ever-changing awareness of the dangers and challenges facing youth.

    Today, the BSA seeks to prevent child abuse through a comprehensive program of education on the subject, the chartered organization leader selection process, criminal background and other checks, policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.”

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