Following up a story I blogged about earlier this month, the news broke late last week that an Oregon jury has awarded the victim $18.5 million in punitive damages in a high-profile Oregon child sexual abuse case involving the Boy Scouts, according to media reports. Earlier this month the Oregon jury awarded $1.4 million in compensatory damages for pain and suffering. The victim in this case, now 38, sued after determining that a scoutmaster had abused him in the 1980s.
As I’ve previously written, this case has attracted national attention. The New York Times noted that the case marked a rare instance in which the Boy Scouts’ confidential files on alleged sexual abuse and other inappropriate behavior by scout leaders were available to a jury. According to the Times: “Known variously as the “perversion files,” the “red flag files” and the “ineligible volunteer files,” the documents have been maintained for more than 70 years at the Scouts’ national office in Texas.” According to The Oregonian, the case marked only the second time that the records had been available to a jury.
Still to be decided by the judge is whether the files seen by the jury will now also be opened for public scrutiny. According to The Oregonian the Boy Scouts currently have about 2.8 million members, supervised by 1.1 million adult volunteers. The organization began running criminal background checks on volunteers in 2003, the paper reports. Numerous media reports have indicated that the precedent set by opening the Scouts’ files may unleash a flood of litigation nationwide.
This high profile case in our own community has been an ongoing reminder of the importance of having a Portland child sexual abuse attorney on your side. The tragedy of Oregon sexual abuse is never easy to deal with, but a Portland abuse lawyer can help you make your way through our complex and confusing legal system to obtain the justice you deserve.
New York Times: $18.5 million in liability for Scouts in abuse case