The Oregonian - February 15, 2011
Alleging child abuse, Portland lawyers file another suit against the Boy Scouts
By Tom Hallman Jr., The Oregonian
Lawyers for a Portland man who claims he was continually abused during a seven-year period filed a $5.2 million lawsuit Tuesday against the Boy Scouts, saying the organization had plenty evidence that a troop leader was a serial child molester, but did nothing to keep him from harming others.
In the past month, the attorneys have filed suits similar to Tuesday's in Alaska, Kentucky and New Mexico on behalf of other alleged childhood victims. Kelly Clark, with the firm O'Donnell Clark & Crew, said this Portland case was particularly egregious.
"The abuse was serious and sustained," he said. "Of the 300 cases I've handled, I can't think of one where there was so much notice of danger."
Clark said the plaintiff -- now in his 30s and a member of the Armed Services -- was a member of Cub Scout Den No. 312, which was a part of the Boy Scout program.
He claims the plaintiff was sexually abused on "hundreds of occasions" from 1981 to 1988 by James F. Hogan, who served at various times as a Scout volunteer, assistant Scoutmaster and Scoutmaster.
Hogan's name came up in 2010 when a Portland jury awarded $18.5 million to punish the Boy Scouts for the abuse that a former Southeast Portland Scout suffered in the 1980s. The case was later settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. At the time, jurors considered more than 1,000 confidential Boy Scout files from 1965 to 1985 to judge the Scouts' liability.
In 1974, Boy Scout leaders confronted Hogan over reports he had been kissing and hugging boys he oversaw through a troop sponsored by the Portland Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The file recounted one formerly "enthusiastic" Scout's reaction to a meeting with Hogan.
The boy "took off his uniform and threw it and his books into the closet and has not taken them out to this day," the internal report said.
The file said Hogan had repeated questionable contact with Scouts, but the file contains no record that Boy Scouts reported him to police. They did ban Hogan from Scouting -- but only for a time. In 1981, church leaders asked that Hogan be reinstated because they concluded the earlier accusations against him weren't true.
The Boy Scouts relented and restored Hogan as a volunteer. Nine years later, they put him back on their list of banned volunteers after he abused two boys he met at the church and pleaded guilty to sodomy.
In a 2010 story, Hogan told The Oregonian in an e-mail that he didn't have much memory of how the Boy Scouts handled his case.
"I do take full responsibility for my actions and carry a heavy burden of pain, sorrow and regret both for those young men who have been injured and also for my wife, children and grandchildren who are re-injured each time these things are brought forth."
On Tuesday, attorney Paul Mones said the abuse occurred at a time when the Boy Scouts had "ample knowledge" of sex abuse by adult leaders. He said this case was just another instance where an institution failed to protect children under the institution's care.
Clark described the plaintiff as "emotionally shut down."
He said when another family member talked about allegedly being abused by Hogan, it reopened wounds and the plaintiff decided to file suit against the Boy Scouts to hold them accountable and "get to the bottom of this."
The suit names the Boy Scouts of America and the Cascade Pacific Council.
In a prepared statement, Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, said that "abuse is – and has always been – unacceptable and the Boy Scouts of America extends its sympathies to the victims." Smith said Tuesday was the first he'd heard about the suit.
The statement also noted that the organization has "continued to develop and enhance efforts to protect youth through effective screening of volunteers, including local review and national criminal background checks, clear policies that prohibit one-on-one contact between adults and youth members and rigorous youth protection and abuse recognition training across our entire organization."
Clark said the Mormon church had previously reached a settlement with his client. If the case against the Scouts is not settled out of court, Clark said he expects the case to go before a Multnomah County jury sometime in 2012.
– Tom Hallman Jr.
-- Aimee Green contributed to this report
By Aimee Green, The Oregonian
Attorneys for a man who was molested by a Southeast Portland Boy Scout leader in the 1980s filed suit this morning, claiming that the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to protect the man from abuse as a boy even though they knew his leader was a notorious pedophile.
The suit is another in a string of lawsuits filed by Portland attorneys Paul Mones and Kelly Clark. Last spring, they won a nearly $20 million verdict against the Boy Scouts for one childhood victim of former Scout leader Timur Dykes, before agreeing to a settlement for an undisclosed amount on behalf of that victim and five others. In the past month, the attorneys have filed suits similiar to today’s in Alaska, Kentucky and New Mexico on behalf of other alleged childhood victims.
In a news release this morning, Mones said the goal is to prevent future child abuse, as well as to obtain justice for victims.
The lawsuit doesn't list defendants by name, although a news release faults the Boy Scouts and the Mormon church. Steve English, an attorney for the church, said he doesn't think the church is a defendant.
“While the church always and absolutely condemns child abuse -- and its heart and prayers go out to any victim of child abuse -- our understanding is the church is not a defendant in this case,” English said.
Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said in a written statement that the 101-year-old organization has been vigilant in taking measures to protect children by "effective screening of volunteers, including local review and national criminal background checks" and "policies that prohibit one-on-one contact between adults."
"Abuse is - and has always been - unacceptable," Smith wrote. "The Boy Scouts of America extends its sympathies to the victims."
Mones and Clark will hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. to talk about more details of the suit, including the amount they are seeking.
The suit filed today claims that an unnamed man was abused by James F. Hogan, now 72, when the man was a boy from 1981 to 1988. Hogan was a leader in Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops chartered by a Mormon Church Ward in Southeast Portland.
The suit alleges that the Boy Scouts of America and the Mormon Church leadership knew Hogan had molested many children before he abused the plaintiff in today’s suit. According to the suit, the two organization received at least 17 separate complaints or reports over a 14-year period about concerns that Hogan was sexually inappropriate with boys while working with Mormon-chartered troops in Portland and Redlands, Calif. Among them was a complaint that Hogan had showered naked with boys, and that he had molested several boys, according to Mones and Clark.
"It is simply inconceivable," Clark was quoted as saying in a news release. "We will show that the abuse this boy suffered was entirely preventable. All the Boy Scouts or the Mormon Church had to do was pick up the phone and call the police. They heard over and over again that this man was sexually abusing young boys."
Hogan pleaded guilty in 1989 to sexually abusing a young relative and two boys he met through his position as a janitor. Two victims filed a civil suit against the church, which was settled.
In 2008, a Portland man sued Hogan claiming Hogan sexually abused him while employed by the church. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount.
This article was found at:
Two Portland men join sex-abuse lawsuit against Boy Scouts, Mormon church
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Damages phase of sex abuse trial against the Boy Scouts of America hears testimony on inadequate child protection policies
Sex abuse trial reveals secret files and decades of cover-up by Boy Scouts of America
Mormons, Boy Scouts targets of new suit
Local Paper Exposes Boy Scout Pedophiles Protected by Mormon Church
Three brothers sue Mormon church and Boy Scouts alleging church ignored complaints of sex abuse by youth leader
Boy Scout leader charged with sexually abusing three boy scouts
Utah Boy Scout leader pleads guilty to child sex abuse
Sex Abuse Suit Filed Against Boy Scout
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Man sues Boy Scout Cascade Pacific Council for $3 million
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