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Spencer Hall, KSL.com

Lawsuit claims BSA, LDS Church concealed information on abuse by Idaho Scout leaders

By Scott Taylor | Posted - May 2, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — Five men who claimed to have been abused as youth by Scouting leaders in two separate Idaho cities, are suing the Boys Scouts of America and the LDS Church, with the lawsuit saying both organizations deceptively presented the youth program as a safe and wholesome activity for boys.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Boise’s U.S. District Court by attorneys from Boise and Portland, Oregon, who have represented other men bringing similar sexual-abuse lawsuits against the BSA and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The lawsuit says both organizations knew of problems with child molesters in Idaho Scout troops and intentionally concealed this problem from families, participants, volunteers and law enforcement.

Monday’s case involved two plaintiffs by name and three “John Does,” citing abuse that was committed by Scouting leaders to youth participants in the 1960s and '70s in Boise and Lewiston, the latter 266 miles to the north of Idaho’s capital city. Three former Scout leaders were specifically named in the lawsuit.

At least one Scout troop named in the lawsuit was not sponsored by the LDS Church, but rather by the Lewiston Elks Lodge.

Both the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts of America responded by releasing prepared statements.

“We have only recently learned about this legal action, and will take time to understand it fully and to respond as appropriate,” said LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

The BSA statement said the national organization abhors behaviors as alleged in the lawsuit, adding that since the cited years of abuse, it had strengthened its efforts to protect Scouting participants.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members," the statement said. "The BSA is outraged there have been times when Scouts were abused and we sincerely apologize to victims and their families.”

Representing attorneys are from Portland’s Dumas Law Group LLC and the Boise firm of Chasan and Walton LLC.

An earlier lawsuit by the same attorneys, filed in lower courts in 2013, filed in lower courts in 2013, reached the Idaho Supreme Court in 2015. That court ruled the case could go forward on a fraud theory.

The earlier lawsuit was filed on behalf of four “John Doe” plaintiffs and named three Scout leaders as the alleged perpetrators.

In comparing the named Scout leaders in the two legal actions, two Scout leaders were named in both lawsuits, with the third leader named being different in the two cases.

Attorneys said the abuse occurred during camping trips and other BSA activities and added are hopeful others will come forward. Email: taylor@deseretnews.com

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