A man is suing the central Arkansas chapter of the Boy Scouts of America on the claims of sexual abuse and negligence.
Details of the Lawsuit and Alleged Sexual Abuse
In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, a man accused a leader of Boy Scouts Troop 16 and Webelos Unit 13 in Hot Springs of sexually abusing him on eight different occasions between 1979 and 1980. The plaintiff was between the ages of 10 and 12 at the time of the abuse.
The scout leader at the time of the abuse, who was in his mid-40s, was not listed as the defendant in the lawsuit.
However, the Quapaw Area Council, which oversees the entire region of Boy Scout groups, is listed as the defendant in the lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses the council of allowing the scout leader to volunteer even though they knew he had been accused of sexually abusing another young boy in Georgia.
After learning that the scout leader had sexually abused the plaintiff, the Quapaw Area Council had allegedly covered up the abuse by telling the plaintiff to not tell his family and by “facilitating and encouraging the payment of a severance for [the scout leader] to help ensure that information about his abuse of boys was kept secret,” the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, the council did not report the abuse to law enforcement. The lawsuit also says that the purported abuse in Hot Springs is part of a systemic problem in the Boy Scouts of America. The organization has “aggressively marketed the wholesomeness and safety of its programs” but concealed “certain knowledge that pedophiles had been infiltrating [Boy Scouts groups] in large numbers for many years,” the lawsuit says.
The plaintiff has accused the council of negligence and fraudulent concealment. He has requested a jury trial and is seeking compensatory damages for years of “emotional distress and mental anguish.”
What Do I Do If I Suspect a Child Is Being Abused?
Child sexual abuse is a crime that often goes undetected. You have the power to make an enormous, positive difference in a child’s life. Here are steps to take if you think a child is a victim of sexual abuse:
- Recognize the signs, both physical and behavioral (see the list above)
- Talk to the child
- Choose a safe space away from the person you may suspect of causing the abuse.
- Speak to the child in a casual, non-threatening tone to keep the child at ease.
- Talk to the child directly, using words that the child will understand.
- Avoid judgmental statements and questions and avoid blaming the child.
- Be reassuring to the child and let them know that you are concerned for them.
- Report it to authorities
- Before reporting, tell the child you are going to talk to someone else who can help.
- Make sure the child is in a safe place, and if you are concerned about the child’s safety, be sure to let the authorities know.
- If you are not concerned that the parents are the ones causing harm, consult with them prior to reporting to authorities.
Suing Child Molesters in Civil Court
As is the case with many crimes, those responsible for child sex abuse can be tried in both criminal and civil court. In criminal court, they may be sentenced to jail time, prison time, or probation. In civil court, they can be sued for damages caused by their actions. Damages for sexual abuse cases may include:
- Personal injury
- Lost income and other financial losses
- Past and future trauma and emotional distress
- Past and future medical, counseling, and psychiatric bills
- False imprisonment
- Assault and battery
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
Contact an Experienced Child Injury Attorney
If you believe that your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for sexually abused children across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.