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So, what are the LC's and COs being sued for?


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I wanted to post this here because while it is RELATED to the bankruptcy thread, it needs to be parsed out.

The chief complaint against the suits and claims is that a) the abusers are getting off free and b) BSA, the LCs, and COs reported what they could to the police.

But, a) isn't relevant and b) is only part of the story.

As for a), yes in those instances where the abuser is still alive, they are in fact part of these lawsuits. This Minnesota case, for example, names BSA, the LC, and the abuser as defendants.

As for b), while all these lawsuits have different aspects and dimensions, most I've seen boil down to the following:

1) Boy Scouts of America (the chartered entity) created the Boy Scouts (or Cub Scouts, or whatever) program and chartered local councils to carry that program out.

2) Boy Scouts of America directly chartered each year the units in question.

3) Boy Scouts of America knew from early, early on it had a pedophile problem and created the Ineligible Volunteer Files.

4) Boy Scouts of America, the Local Council, and the CO still acted recklessly or negligently in allowing the abuser to access to the scout.

Therefore

  1. Negligence/Duty of reasonable care - BSA had an obligation to look after these kids and not let them be harmed.
  2. Negligence in Supervision - the abusive leader was an "agent of [Boy Scouts] was under [Boy Scouts] direct supervision, and control" using BSA methods, uniforms, instruction, etc.
  3. Negligence in Retention - the abusive leader was not shoved out the door fast enough
  4. Negligence in Hiring - (yes a volunteer is "hired" for these purposes) Boy Scouts failed to do enough of a background check to detect the abuser's tendencies and nevertheless held the abusive leader out as a "competent and trustworthy scout leader, supervisor, servant, teacher, and counselor."

Now, before people start screaming "That's not fair! That's not right!" keep in mind that these are the underlying arguments that have already been successfully used against BSA and LCs in the past.

And there are over 850 (at least) cases already filed against LCs.

So, complain all you want about it not being "fair" or "right", but this is the current legal landscape.

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If the end result is innocent scouts and scouters forced to pay into a victim fund to keep the program running for their scouts, my first reaction is not to complain. We'll move to another organizatio

Pack your bags. In fact, if you are serious, you would have left years ago. 1) Councils and National have already had to pay to settle dozens of lawsuits since 1997 over sexual abuse. 2) The

I did state this before: the BSA does take youth protection much more seriously today, than organized sports and schools. When I coached baseball and basketball, there are no two deep adult requiremen

If the end result is innocent scouts and scouters forced to pay into a victim fund to keep the program running for their scouts, my first reaction is not to complain. We'll move to another organization or quit scouting. Fixing one wrong with another wrong might be legal, but there is a point where scouts will not see the value in the program and cut their losses. 

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1 hour ago, Owls_are_cool said:

We'll move to another organization or quit scouting.

Pack your bags. In fact, if you are serious, you would have left years ago.

1) Councils and National have already had to pay to settle dozens of lawsuits since 1997 over sexual abuse.

2) There are at least 850+ active pending lawsuits against BSA, local councils, and COs. They are paused/stayed due to the BSA bankruptcy, but they will proceed eventually and they will result in millions if not billions in judgments against BSA, LCs, and COs.

3) There is absolutely no scenario here in which all these abuse claims and lawsuits suddenly go away. None. We are well past the point of asking "Will BSA have to pay? Will LCs? Will COs?" the only questions left now are how much and when.

So as I said, if you truly, truly believe paying a penny for the sexual abuse victims means "we'll move to another organization or quit scouting", then there's the (metaphorical) door. Those payments have already been made and it is 100% certain more payments will be occurring.

Leave.

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Ok, so a follow up.

The latest is from New Jersey. I am NOT going to link to the complaint because the plaintiff/abuse victim is named (he is suing under his real name, not "John Doe") and I am not about to name him.

That said, the NJ case is precisely the kind of lawsuit BSA, LCs, and COs are facing and why they are facing it.

The "Defendants" are BSA National and two local councils in New Jersey where this unit operated/this scout was abused.

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At  all  relevant  times  the  defendants,  through  their agents,  servants,  and  employees, managed, maintained, operated, and controlled the Boy Scout Troop that Plaintiff belonged  to  when  he  was  sexually  abused  by  the  defendants’  Scout  leader  and  volunteer,  NAME REDACTED BY ME.

So, right off the bat. Why is BSA and the LC being sued? Because they were operating the BSA program through the Troop.
 

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31. At all relevant times the defendants were responsible for the hiring and staffing, and did the hiring and staffing, for the Scout leaders and volunteers of the Boy Scout Troop that Plaintiff belonged to when he was sexually abused by their Scout leader and volunteer, ABUSER NAME.

BSA and the LC did not properly review this abuser when he was "hired" (and for legal purposes signing on as a volunteer is "hiring).

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32. At  all  relevant  times  the  defendants  were  responsible  for  the  recruitment  and  staffing of the Scout leaders and volunteers for the Boy Scout Troop that Plaintiff belonged to when he was sexually abused by their Scout leader and volunteer, ABUSER NAME.

BSA and the LC did not properly review this abuser when he was "recruited" .

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33. At all relevant times the defendants were responsible for supervising the Scout leaders and volunteers for the Boy Scout Troop that Plaintiff belonged to when he was sexually abused by their Scout leader and volunteer, ABUSER NAME.

BSA and the LC did not properly supervise this abuser when he was serving as a leader/volunteer abusing scouts.

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34. At  all  relevant  times  the  defendants held  themselves  out  to  the  public  as  the  owners of the Boy Scout Troop that Plaintiff belonged to when he was sexually abused by their Scout leader and volunteer, ABUSER NAME.

BSA and the LC are on the hook because they own this mess (they chartered the Troop).

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36.At  all  relevant  times  the  defendants,  through  their  agents,  servants,  and  employees, managed, maintained, operated, and controlled the Boy Scout Troop that Plaintiff belonged  to  when  he  was  sexually  abused  by  the  defendants’  Scout  leader  and  volunteer,  ABUSER NAME, including its leaders and volunteers.

And BSA and the LCs are on the hook because they own this mess, part 2 (they chartered the Troop).

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FIRST COUNT (Violation of New Jersey Child Sexual Abuse Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1)
4. The defendants’ actions constitute malice, vindictiveness, wanton and reckless disregard, and indifference to Plaintiff’s rights and safety.
5. At all relevant times ABUSER NAME was an employee or agent of the defendants acting within  the  scope  of  his  employment  or  agency.    As  such,  in  addition  to  being  directly  liable  under  this  cause  of  action,  the  defendants  are  vicariously  liable  for  the  torts  committed  by  ABUSER NAME under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

BSA and the LCs were in charge of the program and recklessly disregarded scout safety.

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SECOND COUNT (Negligence)
In  breaching  their  duties,  including  hiring,  retaining,  and  failing  to  supervise ABUSER NAME; giving him access to children; entrusting their tasks, premises, and instrumentalities to him; failing to train their personnel in the signs of sexual predation and to protect children from sexual abuse and other harm; failing to warn Plaintiff, his parents, and other parents of danger  of  sexual  abuse;  and  failing  to  create  a  safe  and  secure  environment  for  Plaintiff and other  children  who  were  under  their  supervision  and  in  their  care,  custody,  and  control,  the  defendants created a foreseeable risk that Plaintiff would be sexually abused by ABUSER NAME.

Everything I said above in the first post: BSA and the LCs were negligent in how they hired, trained, retained, and supervised the abuser, plus other things.

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THIRD COUNT (Intentional and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress)

and

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FOURTH COUNT (Punitive Damages)

So, there you have it. An understanding of what is going on here.

This has NOTHING to do with not reporting to police. It is about BSA National, LCs, and COs (although the CO isn't named here, it may be because the scout doesn't know who that was, there are "John Doe" defendants")

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On 4/22/2021 at 4:13 PM, Owls_are_cool said:

If the end result is innocent scouts and scouters forced to pay into a victim fund to keep the program running for their scouts, my first reaction is not to complain. We'll move to another organization or quit scouting. Fixing one wrong with another wrong might be legal, but there is a point where scouts will not see the value in the program and cut their losses. 

I don't blame you at all but when you do move, you will be accomplishing exactly what the individuals and organizations who've been trying to destroy Scouting for decades want.  Make no mistake -- some parties in these lawsuits are in it for justice, some are in it for revenge, some are in it for the money, and some are in it simply to destroy a pillar of traditional American culture and society.  That last segment has been trying to destroy churches, Scouting, the military, law enforcement, etc. for decades and use any convenient avenue they can find.  This doesn't diminish the very real hurt suffered in some of these cases but the general public really needs to keep the broader perspective of what's good for our society in the long run.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/28/2021 at 1:15 PM, CynicalScouter said:

Ok, so a follow up.

The latest is from New Jersey...  Because they were operating the BSA program through the Troop.

BSA and the LC did not ...

I often think about what the law was back when these cases happened.  Would the same conclusion have been reached?  Did the BSA see themselves as "operating" the troop?  Or did they see COs as operating the troop and BSA providing a program structure?  Like a franchise model.  

Having the law as it exists now, BSA would have done better to structure itself as an intellectual licensing business offering a program.  Heck, I'm sure many people thought that is exactly what they were doing and had no idea they were taking "ownership" of so much or ever conceived they had the responsibilities bigger than all the others that signed.  Heck, the charter org representative signs adult leader applications where the references of the individual are listed.  That charter org rep is much more close to the volunteers than any council or national person.  I've never heard a charter org rep call the references. 

Was BSA originally legally negligent?  I'm betting if you asked a 1978 jury judged a 1978 incident, you'd find few liability awards and many would have summary judgement ending the case. 

Edited by fred8033
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On 4/28/2021 at 2:15 PM, CynicalScouter said:

This has NOTHING to do with not reporting to police. It is about BSA National, LCs, and COs (although the CO isn't named here, it may be because the scout doesn't know who that was, there are "John Doe" defendants")

For an example that does involve a CO...

Once again, this is about principles, so I won't link to the specific case I read. (And I read it a few days ago, so don't have the exact citations handy in any case.)

One of the cases in Idaho names the LDS church as defendant. The Scout was LDS, and the molesting leader was LDS. The Scout reported it to his Bishop, who agreed that the molesting leader was "a very sick man". His mother threatened to press charges and file a civil lawsuit, but ultimately did not do so after being discouraged by "other church leaders".

The lawsuit also cites a public discourse by Spencer W. Kimball (the Prophet from 1973 to 1985) in which he stated that Scouting was "no longer an experiment" and said that every Young Man in the Church should participate in Scouting.  I don't have a link to those exact words handy, but I did find a 1977 talk where President Kimball said that "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms the continued support of Scouting".

But I think any CO that carried a Scout troop's awards and Eagle plaque in its display case, or mentioned its Troop's activities in its newsletter, or cited its pastor's or members' Scouting involvement during a press interview  could be accused of "supporting" Scouting, hence any abuse, in the same manner even if not in the same degree.

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In the early 1980's we had a leading church consultant work with our congregation. Lyle Schaller, the consultant, had worked with hundreds of churches across the nation and was a prolific writer, authoring almost fifty books. I remember his comment regarding Scouting programs. He stated that the vast majority of congregations whom he had visited, treated Scouting programs as an outside group housed by the church rather than an active part of the church's ministry, even if they proudly called it "our troop."  A Scout Sunday service and an annual  chili supper fund-raiser often were the only face to face involvement that the Scouts had with the congregation.

Schaller's definition of true church ownership included being a part of the annual church program planning, regular involvement by adult church members and church youth, selection of key unit leadership whose personal values mirrored that of the church and inclusion in the church budget. 

On the other hand, I recall district executives seeking to recruit new units sponsors, who promised it would require minimal time involvement on the part of the church and they would get a service project thrown in to boot.

We reap what we sow?

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16 minutes ago, gpurlee said:

He stated that the vast majority of congregations whom he had visited, treated Scouting programs as an outside group housed by the church rather than an active part of the church's ministry, even if they proudly called it "our troop."  A Scout Sunday service and an annual  chili supper fund-raiser often were the only face to face involvement that the Scouts had with the congregation.

That remains absolutely true to this day. And not just churches, COs as a general rule look at units simply as "a thing we rent space to for $0 a year."

That is why starting last year dozens of COs dropped units when it became clear that all those years of abuse made COs liable for the unit.

This resulted, for example, in the unique situation where the Diocese of Dallas in effect gave BSA 30 days to get out of the parishes and find new COs.

It also meant the creation of the new Council-CO model where a) the Council charters the unit/serves as CO and b) the former CO simply signs a rental agreement.

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Posted (edited)

Only using BOLD to reflect key points for those who SKIM.

 

On 4/22/2021 at 2:08 PM, CynicalScouter said:

3) Boy Scouts of America knew from early, early on it had a pedophile problem and created the Ineligible Volunteer Files.

Agreed.  That will be the plantiff's argument.

I'm betting the defense would respond ... that "BSA KNEW" but believed they were managing the same issues other organizations that served youth.  Schools, YMCAs, churches, youth ministries, etc.  The BSA KNEW can be offset by the standard of care of the time.   ... So, did they view themselves as dealing uniquely with evil ugliness that many organizations didn't have.  If viewing themselves like many other organizations, than the IVF becomes a higher level of care than other organizations.  ... I've already argued that ...  my additional point is ... "BSA KNEW" that is absolutely a debateable point ... but did they see themselves as having more risk than any other youth serving group?  ... If it doesn't matter, than most schools and church groups and other youth serving groups should shut down as they have huge risk.  

Similar arguement to the past ... Consider today ... with today's laws ... with broad mandatory reporting ... with enlightened science ... with enlightened understanding of abuse ... Now, use Google and search "school teacher chaged" ... limit it to the last month ... Google gives you 20 pages of incidents covered in the last month ...

  • Western Colorado
  • Lockport, IL
  • Greenbay, WI
  • Shoreham, NY
  • Atascocita, TX
  • Spokane, WA
  • Brandon, FL
  • Providence, Utah; 
  • many, many, many more ... 

Assume 3 unique incidents per page (it's a sampled guess) ... multiple by 20 google pages ... muiltiply by 12 months ... multiply by 60 years (similar to BSA''s case spread)  ... That's 43,200 ...  probably fewer now due to current laws ... to mandatoring reporting ... to enlightened understanding.   Even today, with everything in place. schools have not been able to stop on-going abuse. 

Now consider most victims don't talk about it until years later ...  Now consider offenders often have multiple victims ...  That 43,200 becomes hundreds of thousands or millions.   https://victimsofcrime.org/child-sexual-abuse-statistics/ ...   Statistics are wildly varied, but a Slate article says of current high schoolers, 4.5 million have had sexual abuse by school staff and 3 million have sexual touching or assault.  Multiply that out from the 60 years of BSA's cases.  https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2012/02/is-sexual-abuse-in-schools-very-common.html

And, we're not even talking about the 17,000 cases found by AP in the last four years thru high school sports programs  ... many of them involving penetration and coaches minimizing as inappropriate touching  ... https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/05/08/sex-assaults-in-high-school-sports-minimized-as-hazing ... or the Larry Nassars or the Olympic coaches or the college doctors or the ... 

I'm not trying to lessen the ugly evil.  I'm asserting "BSA KNEW" is a point that can be argued. ... Did BSA KNOW something different than they thought other organizations face?  Many other organizations also KNEW but were doing less.  Many still continue to have issues, but their doors are still open.  Was BSA to uniquely close it's doors because of an issue many youth serving organizations face.  

 

Let's face it ... like many scouters ... I can be long winded to make just one or two points ...  scouters like to chat. 

Edited by fred8033
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10 hours ago, fred8033 said:


I'm not trying to lessen the ugly evil.  I'm asserting "BSA KNEW" is a point that can be argued. ... Did BSA KNOW something different than they thought other organizations face?  Many other organizations also KNEW but were doing less.  Many still continue to have issues, but their doors are still open.  Was BSA to uniquely close it's doors because of an issue many youth serving organizations face.  

 

Before anyone can answer that question you would have to consider at least two additional things: Scale and comparable time periods. There are 3.5 million teachers in the US and 57 million school children creating many opportunities for abuse. There are far fewer scouters and scouts. For example, in 2014, there were 1 million adult volunteers involved in scouting and 2.6 million scouts, creating far fewer opportunities for abuse. 

A useful comparison of incidents would also have to select for comparable time periods. 

I think the one good thing that might come out of this mess is better data sets and societal awareness regarding the incidence of child abuse.  Do I think BSA, given all the other aspects of this issue that we know, should be held less accountable? No. BSA was near custom designed to be a pedophile buffet and did not recognize the warning signs or effectively act on warnings, many of which were issued from its earliest inception.  

 

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10 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I'm betting the defense would respond ... that "BSA KNEW" but believed they were managing the same issues other organizations that served youth. 

Too darn bad. The fact that other organizations were negligent does NOT absolve BSA's negligence.

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16 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Too darn bad. The fact that other organizations were negligent does NOT absolve BSA's negligence.

This is the type of commentary that doesn't help. 

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27 minutes ago, yknot said:

Before anyone can answer that question you would have to consider at least two additional things: Scale and comparable time periods. There are 3.5 million teachers in the US and 57 million school children creating many opportunities for abuse. There are far fewer scouters and scouts. For example, in 2014, there were 1 million adult volunteers involved in scouting and 2.6 million scouts, creating far fewer opportunities for abuse. 

A useful comparison of incidents would also have to select for comparable time periods. 

I think the one good thing that might come out of this mess is better data sets and societal awareness regarding the incidence of child abuse.  Do I think BSA, given all the other aspects of this issue that we know, should be held less accountable? No. BSA was near custom designed to be a pedophile buffet and did not recognize the warning signs or effectively act on warnings, many of which were issued from its earliest inception.  

 

I'm not sure comparing rates is much help. Youth were/are being abused and the number is significant. I did a search on school districts sued for child abuse and the exact same subject came up for a few districts as for the bsa. In the one case I saw teachers were passed around much like priests in the Catholic church. Maybe a better question is when/how will what we see at the bsa turn up in school districts.

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33 minutes ago, MattR said:

This is the type of commentary that doesn't help. 

From a legal standpoint, it does. The court will look at BSA's negligence (and that of LCs and COs.)

The fact that OTHER organizations may ALSO have been negligent will never, ever be allowed into evidence or as part of the trial because it is irrelevant to the question at hand: was BSA (or the LC or CO) in negligence in caring/protecting for the minor and/or in the supervision of the abusive adult leader.

Or, as I said more directly: to darn bad that other groups were bad, that doesn't mean what BSA did was OK.

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