News / USA

Boy Scouts of America Found Negligent in Sex Abuse Case

A U.S. jury has ordered the Boy Scouts of America to pay $1.4 million to a former scout who was sexually abused by an assistant scoutmaster.

The jury in the northwestern U.S. state of Oregon found the Boy Scouts organization was negligent for allowing an admitted sex-offender to lead troop activities, including sleepovers.

Jurors are scheduled to meet again next week, when they could fine the Boy Scouts up to an additional $25 million in punitive damages during a separate phase of the trial.

Former Boy Scout Kerry Lewis sued the organization, claiming he was sexually abused during the early 1980s.  His lawyers argued assistant Scoutmaster Timur Dykes was allowed to have contact with the boys even after admitting to a bishop that he had abused 17 scouts.

The Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that it was "gravely disappointed" with the verdict and plans to appeal.

The Boy Scouts organization also said that the allegations made against its efforts to protect boys were "not valid," and that the safety of its members is the group's highest priority.

During the trial, lawyers for the victim cited the existence of so-called "perversion files" -- information the Boy Scouts organization kept on alleged pedophiles -- as evidence that the group knew about the problems but failed to act appropriately.

The Associated Press reports that Boy Scouts officials said they used the documents to keep potential pedophiles out of the organization.

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