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Boy Scouts Lawsuit Proceeds to Trial
updated: Feb 19, 2014, 11:35 AM
Source: Associated Press
A sex-abuse lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America survived a legal challenge Friday and is set for trial
later this year in California.
Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Donna Geck rejected allegations of negligence against the
Scouts at a hearing Friday, but she said a 13-year-old former Scout could nonetheless pursue the
organization in court for failure to properly educate Scouters about the dangers of sexual abuse, the Santa
Barbara News-Press reported.
The judge will also allow the plaintiff to pursue punitive damages.
The lawsuit was filed by a boy who alleges he was molested by a Scout leader while working at a troop-
sponsored Christmas tree sale in Goleta in 2007. The abuse occurred when the boy's mother stepped away
for a moment and he was left alone with a 400-pound former Eagle Scout who was acting as a volunteer
leader, the claim alleges.
The boy's attorney, Timothy Hale, had argued in court papers that the Boy Scouts were liable for negligent
supervision because another Scout had previously reported inappropriate behavior by the volunteer leader,
But Geck found that the previous complaint to a local executive of the Los Padres Council never reached
the national organization and that the Boy Scouts cannot be held liable for the actions of local councils,
troops and their employees and volunteers.
What will proceed to trial, instead, is whether the Boy Scouts properly educated and warned the plaintiff of
the dangers of sexual abuse, even at the hands of Scout leaders and volunteers, according to the judge's
The court last year ordered about 120,000 pages of internal Boy Scout files from across the nation turned
over to Hale.
Those papers, which date from 1991 and on, remain sealed under a protective order until they are
introduced as evidence at trial.
The Scouts have previously been forced to reveal files dating from 1960 to 1991.
Paul Ryan Ortuno and Craig Price, attorneys for the defendants, did not immediately return calls or emails
from The Associated Press.
Stein ultimately pleaded no contest to two counts involving the plaintiff and another boy, the newspaper
The trial is scheduled for Oct. 3.
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