Tags: US | Boy | Scouts | Abuse

Scouts Must Pay Man $18.5M in Punitive Damages

Friday, 23 Apr 2010 08:52 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

A jury on Friday ordered the Boy Scouts of America to pay $18.5 million to a man sexually abused by a former assistant Scoutmaster in what is believed to be the largest such award against the organization.

Lawyers for Kerry Lewis had asked the jury to award at least $25 million to punish the Boy Scouts for what the jury had already agreed in the first phase of the trial was reckless and outrageous conduct.

They also noted the Boy Scouts had never apologized to Lewis, who said Friday at a news conference that the verdict shows that "big corporations can't be above the law."

Lewis added that an apology "would mean something to me, but I'm not expecting it."

The jury decided on April 13 that the Boy Scouts were negligent for allowing former assistant Scoutmaster Timur Dykes to associate with Scouts, including Lewis, after Dykes admitted to a Scouts official in 1983 that he had molested 17 boys.

The jury awarded Lewis $1.4 million in compensatory damages with that verdict and agreed the Boy Scouts of America were liable for punitive damages to be determined in the second phase of the trial that ended Thursday.

Boy Scouts officials declined to comment on details of the case because other cases are pending, but issued a statement saying it maintains a "rigorous" system to screen Scout leaders.

"The Boy Scouts of America has always stood against child abuse of any kind," it said.

The case was the first of six filed against the Boy Scouts in the same court in Oregon, with at least one other separate case pending. If mediation fails to settle the next cases, they also could go to trial.

The amount of the damages surprised Patrick Boyle, editor of the Youth Today newspaper and author of a book about sex abuse within the Scouts.

"That's a lot of money. This is by far the biggest award against the Scouts for sex abuse, probably by several times," Boyle said.

The award is also significant, he said, because it is only against the national Boy Scouts organization and is not divided among any of its local councils or other defendants.

Kelly Clark and Paul Mones, the attorneys for Lewis, told the jury the Boy Scouts were nearly a $1 billion corporation that could well afford punitive damages intended to deter them from similar conduct in the future.

Clark and Mones said Friday after the verdict that publicity about the case also could act as a deterrent.

"They've always settled. And they're silent. No one hears because it does not see the light of day," Mones said. "What we saw here in Portland really pulled back the covers on the Boy Scouts of America, and what it did to cover up."

During the first phase of the trial, Clark and Mones introduced more than 1,000 files the Scouts kept on suspected child molesters from 1965-85 as evidence the organization should have put a sex abuse prevention program into place decades ago.

The Scouts executive now in charge of those files admitted they had never been evaluated or analyzed to help design or determine the effectiveness of a prevention program that is now in place.

A number of witnesses testified for the Scouts during the second phase of the trial that they participated in a training and prevention program since at least the late 1980s. None could say why the Scouts had not yet made the "youth protection training" program mandatory.

Under Oregon law, 60 percent of the punitive damages awarded by the jury will go to the state crime victim compensation fund.

Because the Boy Scouts have settled some lawsuits out of court, it is difficult to say where the total awards imposed by the Portland jury rank with those of the past.

In a 1987 sex abuse case, an Oregon jury awarded more than $4 million to the victim, including $2 million in punitive damages against the Scouts that were thrown out when the case was appealed. A jury in San Bernardino, Calif., awarded $3.75 million to three sex abuse victims in 1991.

Boyle said from 1984 through 1992, the Scouts were sued at least 60 times for alleged sex abuse with settlements and judgments totaling more than $16 million.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Mali's Islamists Withdraw Cease-Fire Pledge

Friday, 04 Jan 2013 13:06 PM

Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters rallied in the Hamas stronghold of Gaza on Friday for the first time since they we . . .

Fmr. CIA Director Hayden: Iran Nuclear Crisis Gets 'Scarier'

Tuesday, 17 Jul 2012 18:11 PM

 . . .

Join Fmr. CIA Director for Special Iran Briefing, Assess the Danger

Friday, 13 Jul 2012 12:27 PM

 . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved