Former Oakley scout joins 12 other plaintiffs in Idaho sex abuse lawsuit

OAKLEY — A man from Oakley is among 13 victims who filed an Idaho federal lawsuit alleging they were sexually abused as Boy Scouts in troops sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Oakley victim was a member of Boy Scout Troop 22, sponsored by the church’s Oakley Second Ward in 1980-1981. The other 12 scouts were from Boise, Nampa, Caldwell and Lewiston.

The lawsuit, filed in October by the plaintiffs’ attorney Dumas & Vaughn, names the Boy Scouts of America’s Mountain West Council, Ore-Ida Council, Inland Northwest Council and Lewis & Clark Council as well as the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Boy Scouts of America declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February after it was met with thousands of former scouts’ allegations of child sexual abuse by scoutmasters across the country.

“It’s unchartered territory,” Attorney Gilion Dumas said. “No one expected the Boy Scouts to be facing these lawsuits, but it’s of their own making.”

Dumas also represented 28 victims in similar lawsuits filed against the Boy Scouts in 2013 and 2018.

All of those cases were resolved through settlement, she said.

The Times-News reached out to attorneys for the Boy Scouts of America and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who did not respond to requests for comments on the case.

Previously, church spokesman Sam Penrod said in a statement to the Associated Press that the claim that the church had access for decades to Boy Scout files on people ineligible to be volunteers is false. The church learned about the files at the same time as the public, he said.

The church ended its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America in Jan. 2020, according to the AP.

In a previously released statement, the Boy Scouts of America said it was “devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in Scouting and moved by the bravery of those who came forward.”

“We intentionally developed an open, accessible process to reach survivors and help them take an essential step toward receiving compensation,” the statement read. “The response we have seen from survivors has been gut-wrenching. We are deeply sorry.”

Across the country, Dumas said, more than 90,000 claims of sexual abuse in the scouting program were filed by the November 2020 deadline set by the Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy court.

An Idaho judge put a stay on the sex abuse case until March, due to the bankruptcy filing, she said, and it’s likely the stay will remain in place until the bankruptcy is completed.

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