Recently, a Louisville man filed a lawsuit claiming he was sexually abused by his scoutmaster in the 970s when he was a member of the Boy Scouts of America. The man, known only by his initials, filed a lawsuit in Jefferson Circuit Court, claiming Timothy Fleming, former leader of Troop 364, committed several acts of sexual abuse that occurred during out of town trips, at a church, and at the scout leader’s home.
According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim only recently recovered memories of his abuse, but since his childhood has suffered serious psychological and emotional injuries including depression, anxiety, sexual disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Boy Scouts Aware of Abuse within Its Organization
The lawsuit claims Boy Scouts of America was aware of the allegations against Fleming and took no action, failing to report any wrongdoing to the police, Child Protective Services, or attorneys. Under Kentucky law, not reporting incidence of sexual abuse is illegal. Furthermore, the suit alleges Boy Scouts of America continued to let Fleming hold leadership roles even after it was made aware of reports of sexual abuse.
Much of the information about the incidents involving Fleming became public after documents from a 2010 Oregon Civil Suit were released – something Boy Scout officials fought. The documents contain a detailed allegation against Fleming, as well as a collection of other instances of abuse within the organization and are referred to as the Boy Scouts’ Perversion files.
Scouting Officials Acknowledged Substantiated Reports of Abuse against Fleming
Information also included paperwork completed by a regional scouting executive that showed Fleming, who was 27 at the time of the accusations, worked as a deacon at a local church and was interested in young people’s programs. The “confidential record sheet” listed Fleming as the scoutmaster of Troop 364 for a period of three months and featured a checked box labeled “substantiated reports.”
According to the scouting official who filled out the paperwork on Fleming, the procedure for dealing with abuse was to inform parents and allow them to decide whether to contact law enforcement. He goes on to explain, “”If we brought every one of those things to court, we would have had to have a special group of lawyers. We thought we were doing the right thing by removing leaders from any contact with kids and notifying their parents.”
The Boy Scouts of America issued a statement in response to the lawsuit, in which it stated it cannot discuss ongoing litigation, but that it considered child victimization and abuse unacceptable. The statement included information about the actions the organization makes to prevent child abuse.
If you or someone you care about was the victim of sexual abuse, you have a right to take action – even if that abuse occurred during childhood and you or your loved one is now an adult.
Paul Mones understands the circumstances in which children are vulnerable and become victims of sexual abuse. He has significant experience representing victims of sexual abuse while they were Boy Scouts. His clients have ranged in age from boys still in middle school to men in their 60’s, and he has worked on cases of Scout abuse in numerous states including Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Texas, Missouri, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Connecticut, North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, Hawaii, and Alaska.