A jury in Portland, Oregon has awarded a man $1.4 million in a case that took a jury 17 days to determine its verdict and damage award against the Boy Scouts for negligence found to have occurred in the 1980's.
The Boy Scouts was determined negligent in a case involving plaintiff Kerry Lewis, 38, who had been abused by a Scoutmaster in the 1980's. The jury returned its verdict in a 9-3 finding against the Boy Scouts, as reported in court documents and press release information yesterday, finding them 60 per cent liable for the pain and suffering Lewis experienced. Its local chapter, the Cascade Pacific Council, was liable for 15 percent.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was also found liable for damages but had reached a settlement with Lewis in advance of the trial. Timor Dykes, the assistant Scoutmaster, was a member of a Mormon congregation that had sponsored the Boy Scout troop.
Evidence presented in the case included a confession by Dykes in 1983 to the Mormon bishop who had overseen the church scouting program of Dykes molestation of 17 boys during the time he had been a Scoutmaster. He was suspended in 1983 but allowed to return to Scouting in 1984, the period when Lewis was abused.
Punitive damages in the case have yet to be determined but can be significant if the impact on the victim's life is considered enough to warrant a large award. Punitive damages are those above and beyond the physical and emotional consequences which can be detailed by concrete evidence. The law defines "the purpose of punitive damages is to punish a defendant and to deter a defendant and others from committing similar acts in the future.