The Boy Scouts of America has until Friday to produce more than 5,000 records, kept secret for decades, detailing allegations of sexual abuse by scout leaders across the nation.
The attorney for the plaintiff, Santa Barbara attorney Timothy Hale, told the Santa Barbara Independent that the files, which will not be made public on Friday, showed that the Boy Scouts of America has maintained thousands of secret “perversion files” detailing child molestation cases, involving up to 20,000 scouts abused by leaders during 1965-85 alone, and perhaps 100,000 since 1925.
“For 70 years, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has concealed from the public the fact that sexual abuse has pervaded the institution,” hiding from parents the fact that their children were and still are at heightened risk of being targets of “pedophilic wolves,” Hale charged in the Superior Court suit.
Hale has led and won several high-profile child abuse cases, including against the Boy Scouts, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
'Used his 450 pounds to pin the boy'
The case, a lawsuit brought by the family of a Santa Barbara County boy sexually abused in 2007 at a Boy Scouts Christmas tree sale when he was 13 as a member of Goleta Scout Troop 36, contends the Scouts were negligent in not taking action against Scout leader and longtime volunteer Al Steven Stein, despite many earlier red flags and warning signs of his inappropriate behavior.
Stein, (pictured here) noted to have behavioral problems as early as 1995, in 2002 'was observed repeatedly bouncing another troop leader’s young son off his stomach and was told to stop."
“In approximately 2005, defendant Stein was observed with the 12-year-old daughter of a troop leader sitting on his lap, conduct to which the girl’s mother objected.”
In a foreshadowing of things to come, the Independent reported, after a series of events, said Hale, including compelling a 10-year-old boy to disrobe so he could photograph his genitals, he moved on to the plaintiff.
"Stein used his 450 pounds to pin the boy with sufficient force to cause bruising, ripped the boy's pants down to the point the boy suffered a laceration at his belt line, and then fondled the boy's genitals while commenting on them," the lawsuit states.
Soul Murder: The Aftermath of Sexual Abuse
"Al is probably at the way far end of having done anything serious," Steven Balash, Stein's attorney in the criminal case and the lawsuit, said to the LA Times. "I don't know where the damages are."
But Dr. Richard Sipe, a forensic psychologist who is internationally known for his work with clergy abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, says that's why sexual abuse "is rightfully called soul murder" the wounds of the victim are often invisible to the naked eye.
The plaintiff, now 17, according to the lawsuit, “has suffered, and continues to suffer, great pain of mind and body shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life and continues to suffer spiritually.”
"He's not the person he was before," the boy's mother told the Los Angeles Times.
Besides the physical victimization, her son suffers trauma from secondary victimization by other families from the troop who accuse him of lying or "hallucinating" about the abuse.
To protect himself from further pain, he refuses to go out in public and is now tutored at home, she told the Times.
The boy was one of three victims of Al Stein, who pleaded no contest to two counts of child abuse.
Stein, now 33, began serving his two year sentence in Avenal State Prison but was paroled early and has been living on Social Security disability payments in a Salinas motel with other sex offenders, said Balash.
The Response from the Scouts
When the boy first told his mother about the abuse a few days later, a Scouts executive, executive David Tate, tried to talk her out of calling the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and only agreed when she insisted.
“He said that wasn’t necessary, because the Scouts do their own internal investigation,” the woman told the Los Angeles Times. “I thought that was really weird. … I thought it was really important to call the sheriff right away.”
The civil trial is scheduled for April.
The Boy Scouts of America, in response to the suit, sent North Texas' News-Radio KRLD a statement:
“Youth protection is of paramount importance to Scouting. Our policies require that any suspicion of abuse be immediately reported to law enforcement and to Scout executives, at which point the accused individual is immediately removed from Scouting and added to the BSA’s Ineligible Volunteer Files.
These files exist solely to keep out individuals whose actions are inconsistent with the standards of Scouting, and Scouts are safer because of them. These files are one part of our multi-layered youth protection system, which also requires training and education for everyone involved with our organization and clear policies that prevent one-on-one contact between youth and adults.”