Last week, a Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge permitted a 13-year-old former Boy Scout to pursue a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Although the Judge had rejected allegations of negligence against the organization, the plaintiff will be allowed to file a civil claim for the Boy Scouts’ failures to adequately educate members about the dangers of sexual abuse. The case is set for trial later this year.
According to court documents, the lawsuit was filed by a former Boy Scout who was allegedly molested by a troop leader while working at a Scout-sponsored Christmas tree sale in Goleta in 2007. The lawsuit claims that a former Eagle Scout acting as a volunteer leader committed the abuse when the boy’s mother had left them alone together. Initially, the lawsuit argued that the Boy Scouts of America was negligent in supervising the event and the Eagle Scout, who had previously been reported for inappropriate behavior. It was later discovered that the Boy Scouts cannot be held liable for actions handled by local troops, their members, and their volunteers.
Although the claim of negligence was rejected, the plaintiff will be allowed to pursue a trial alleging that the Boy Scouts failed to educate and warn him and other troop members about sexual abuse. The case is yet another instance of sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts organization. In 2010, the Boy Scouts of America was ordered to pay $18.5 million to a former Scout and abuse victim – the largest punitive damages award to a single plaintiff in a U.S. child sexual abuse case.
The Boy Scouts of America has long been one of the largest, oldest, and most respected youth organizations in the country. These types of organizations often create a strong sense of trust from parents who believe that their children will be safe and free from harm. Unfortunately – and as is constantly revealed in organizations where adults have authority over youths – child sexual abuse is a real and concerning problem.
For more information about child sexual abuse claims and how a California sexual abuse attorney from The Senators (Ret.) Firm can be of assistance, call (949) 557-5800.