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LDS Church, Boy Scouts Accused in Sex-Abuse Lawsuit

By , | Posted - Jan. 22, 2007 at 10:00 a.m.



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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Two brothers filed a $6.5 million lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America on Monday, alleging they were sexually abused as children in the 1980s by a Mormon "home teacher" who was also a Boy Scout leader.

The lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges the church and the Boy Scouts were responsible because Timur Dykes was an authorized representative of the groups.

It also claims the church failed to report an abuse allegation against a third brother that could have led authorities to other victims -- a claim the church denied.

Dykes was convicted of child sexual abuse "on several different occasions," according to the lawsuit filed by Portland attorney Kelly Clark, who has represented victims of alleged abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

Clark provided a list indicating Dykes had been convicted in 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994.

Dykes declined to confirm those convictions. But he said he was in prison from 1993 to 2002.

He declined further comment but said "somebody has made a mistake," a reference to the lawsuit.

Dykes was convicted in 1994 in Multnomah County on multiple counts of sodomy and sexual abuse, according to court records. He is on probation until 2013, said Robb Freda-Cowie, spokesman for the county Department of Community Justice.

Dykes, also known as Timur Van Dykes, is listed on the county Web site as a "predatory sex offender" who gains access to victims through positions of trust.

Clark called it a "classic pattern" of abuse and suggested that church officials attempted to cover it up.

The church, however, denied the allegations in the lawsuit.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints condemns child abuse and does not tolerate such actions by anyone affiliated with our faith," said Steve English, an attorney for the church in Portland.

English noted Dykes' prison record and said he was excommunicated more than 20 years ago.

The Cascade Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts of America had no comment on the lawsuit, said spokesman Don Cornell, who confirmed that Dykes was registered as a volunteer leader in 1983-84.

Cornell said Scouts have toughened their screening significantly over the years, including educating children on how to recognize and report abuse.

"The protection is just light years ahead of the place it was in the '80s," he said.

The lawsuit alleged that Dykes used a method called "grooming" that conditioned the victims "to comply with Dykes' direction and to respect Dykes as a person of authority in spiritual, moral and ethical matters."

Clark said the boys' stepmother alleges that church officials told her not to report sex abuse allegations involving a third, older brother to police. The lawsuit claims that police would have discovered other victims, including the younger brothers, if it had been reported.

The younger brothers were born in 1972 and 1973. Each is seeking $3 million in general damages and $250,000 in economic damages.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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