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Lawsuit launched against Leatherstocking Council

Posted 8/31/19

A lawsuit has been launched against the Boy Scouts of America and its local Leatherstocking Council on behalf of three adult males alleging that as minors they were sexually abused by scoutmasters or …

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Lawsuit launched against Leatherstocking Council

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A lawsuit has been launched against the Boy Scouts of America and its local Leatherstocking Council on behalf of three adult males alleging that as minors they were sexually abused by scoutmasters or assistant scoutmasters.

The suit was prepared by the Marsh Law Firm PLLC of White Plains and the Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLL firm of Seattle, Wash., including documents for state Supreme Court in Oneida County.

Documents were provided to the Daily Sentinel in conjunction with an announcement this week involving the two firms and attorneys representing 550 childhood sexual abuse survivors across the state. It said the Diocese of Syracuse and the Boy Scouts of America have been served with lawsuits and formal discovery requests.

The announcement refers to the Child Victims Act that took effect Aug. 14, allowing a one-year window for previously time-barred survivors of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice regardless of when the abuse occurred. Two other law firms on Aug. 15 announced lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by at least five clergy who had connections to sites in Oneida County, among legal actions filed Aug. 14 against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.

The suit involving the local Leatherstocking Council includes citing one scoutmaster and three assistant scoutmasters in the alleged sexual abuse cases of three adult males who respectively currently live in Frankfort and Waverly in New York and in Alamogordo, N.M. The three adult males are identified by initials in the documents provided to the Daily Sentinel. They are demanding judgment against the Boy Scouts of America and Leatherstocking Council as defendants, together with compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial, the documents said.

The Leatherstocking Council, which serves scouts in all or part of eight counties including all of Oneida and Madison counties, referred questions Thursday to the national Boy Scouts of America (BSA) organization.

BSA said in a statement that “consistent with our commitment to protecting scouts and upholding our values as an organization...BSA strongly supports efforts to ensure that anyone who commits sexual abuse is held accountable. First and foremost, we care deeply about all victims of 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 programs 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 BSA policy that all incidents of suspected abuse are reported to law enforcement.”

The statement further said “the BSA has taken significant steps over many years to ensure that we respond aggressively to reports of abuse.” It added the BSA fully supports and advocates “for the creation of a national registry overseen by a governmental entity, similar to the national sex offender registry, of those who are suspected of child abuse or inappropriate behavior with a child, and thus allowing all youth serving organizations to share and access such information.  We call upon Congress and other youth serving organizations to support this initiative....”

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