LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — More than a dozen former Boy Scouts have filed suit against several California organizations claiming they were victims of sexual abuse as children at the hands of scout leaders.
Seven different Boy Scout leaders from troops were named in the suits filed on behalf of 14 victims in Los Angeles, Ventura, San Francisco, Sonoma, Stanislaus and Orange counties.READ MORE: Rams-49ers Fans Battle For Tickets To NFC Title Game
“Our clients have struggled for decades because of the sexual abuse they suffered as children in Scouts,” Gilion Duman, attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “These lawsuits let them seek justice for the Boy Scouts’ failure to protect them from the known danger of sexual assault by adult volunteers.”
The scout leaders named in the suits were Robert “Chief” Pankey, a Santa Rosa scout leader; Daniel Montoya, a Long Beach scout leader; Edgard M. Rincon, an Orange County scout volunteer; Harry C. Goodwater, a San Francisco scout skipper; James David Taff, a Downey scoutmaster; Jeffrey Paul Miller, a Simi Valley scoutmaster; and William Walter Thill, a Turlock scout volunteer.
The suits were filed as a result of a new state law that revived sexual assault cases that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.READ MORE: LAPD Deems Bomb Threat At USC As Non-Credible, Reopens Area
One of the victims, who was only identified as John Doe, spoke about the abuse he faced at a Wednesday morning news conference.
“The abuse lasted for about three and a half years,” he said. “One day he just came over to my house, and I ran out the back door, ran down the street, and I never seen the guy again.”
Doe said the abuse happened during backpacking trips and Boy Scout Jamborees.
Attorneys for the victims said there are potentially several more who have not come forward yet.MORE NEWS: 4 Suspects, Armed With Hammers, Rob Newport Jewelry Store
In response to the lawsuit, the Boy Scouts of America issued the following statement, that read in part:
“First and foremost, we care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our program to abuse innocent children. We believe victims, we support them, we pay for counseling by a provider of their choice and we encourage them to come forward. It is the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) policy that all incidents of suspected abuse are reported to law enforcement.
The BSA has taken significant steps over many years to ensure that we respond aggressively and effectively to reports of sexual abuse. We believe victims and remove individuals based on only allegations of inappropriate behavior. We recognize, however, that there were some instances in our organization’s history when cases were not addressed in a manner consistent with our commitment to protect Scouts, the values of our organization, and the procedures we have in place today.”