17 Former Connecticut Boy Scouts Allege Sexual Abuse
The plaintiffs' lawyer said that one child was molested more than 1,000 times by now-deceased scoutmaster Donald Dennis. Dave Altimari
Seventeen former Boy Scouts have filed a lawsuit charging that their scoutmaster in Ridgefield sexually abused them from 1963 to 1975.
The plaintiffs' lawyer said that it was the largest single lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts of America and that one child was molested more than 1,000 times. In addition to listing the 17 former Scouts, the lawsuit lists two girls allegedly sexually assaulted by the scoutmaster, Donald Dennis, who died two years ago.
The 850-page lawsuit alleges that the two girls were forced to watch Dennis sexually abuse some of the scouts in his home. Most of the victims were 11 to 14 years old, although some were as old as 17, according to attorney Brooke Goff, who is representing all 19 plaintiffs.
"We were only made aware of these allegations last month and had never before received any reports or accusations against this individual by youth members, parents or adult volunteer leaders,'' the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "This individual has not been registered in our programs for many years and is now deceased."....
Goff said that Dennis was an assistant scoutmaster from 1963 through 1968 and became scoutmaster until he moved out of Connecticut in 1975. Dennis was a local businessman in Ridgefield and also was an auxiliary state trooper during the same time period, Goff said....
The lawsuit claims that the national and local Boy Scout groups deliberately ignored signs that the organization was a haven for pedophiles.
In 2012, it was revealed during a lawsuit in Oregon that the national Boy Scout organization kept secret records of potential pedophiles who were called "ineligible volunteers." Dennis is not listed, but Goff said that is because he had not been sued.
The lawsuit alleges that the local Boy Scout organization allowed Dennis to be alone with groups of boys for hours at a time at Camp Mauwehu with no supervision, failed to put in safeguards to protect the children and failed to do background checks on Scout leaders.
The lawsuit also claims that many of the accusers had repressed memories of the attacks that resurfaced when the records of the pedophiles became public in 2012....
Last December, a Waterbury jury awarded an unidentified accuser $7 million in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Court records show that the jury found the national organization negligent and reckless in its failure to take steps to protect the plaintiff from repeated abuse at the hands of his scoutmaster. That verdict has been appealed by the national group.
The jury found that the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America and the Connecticut Yankee Council were not liable.