Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Repeated warnings
US sex abuse suit says Scout, church leaders were warned repeatedly about perpetrator
By Tim Fought (CP) – 9 hours ago

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Scouts leader in Portland, Oregon, subjected a boy to hundreds of instances of fondling, sodomy, oral sex and masturbation in the 1980s, even though Scout and Mormon Church leaders had been warned for years that the man was an abuser, a suit filed Tuesday alleges.

In all, the suit says, there were 14 reports of sexual abuse or inappropriate behaviour on the part of the man before the boy joined a Cub Scout den in 1981.

The suit seeking $5.2 million from the Scouts was filed by Portland lawyers Kelly Clark and Paul Mones, who won a major abuse suit against the Scouts last year and have continued to file similar suits.

The victim, Clark said, is a member of the armed forces, in his mid-30s who is "emotionally shut down" and trying to come to terms with the abuse, Clark said. He has a history of troubles with relationships and authorities, Clark said.

The abuse lasted eight years, according to the suit. The victim's brother was also abused, the suit said. Clark said at a press conference that "the other family member" was healing emotionally and didn't sue, Clark said.

Clark said church leaders who sponsored Scout troops were warned as early as 1967, in California, when the perpetrator, identified in the suit as James Hogan, was reported by parents to have fondled their son and showered naked with Scouts.

The reports continued after Hogan moved to Portland that year, the suit said. In 1975, it said, Hogan told a bishop in the church "that he had pedophilic attractions which he could not control."

"I can't think of a case where there was so much notice of a man's dangerousness," Clark said at a news conference.

A man who answered the phone listed in public records as belonging to a James F. Hogan in Portland said he "might be" the man named in the lawsuit but had not seen the suit.

He said he is 73, suffering from memory deterioration and could not remember sexually abusing Boy Scouts. He did recall, though, that "back in the '80s and early '90s I was court-mandated to take a ... court-approved therapy, and I successfully completed that, with probation and such."

"If I have caused someone difficulty, or pain, or anguish, I'm terribly sorry about that," Hogan said. "I wasn't living in reality."

Clark said the Mormon church, which sponsored Scout groups, has settled on sealed terms. A Portland lawyer for the church, Steve English, confirmed there had been a settlement. The church, he said, condemns abuse and "where possible tries to resolve cases to end the victim's suffering."

The Boy Scouts of America released a statement that did not address the suit's allegations. It condemned abuse and said the organization "has continued to develop and enhance efforts to protect youth ..."

Clark said the victim has rejected talk of settling with the Scouts because "he wants to get the word out so that others don't have to suffer in secret."

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