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Posts Tagged "kids"

Boy Scouts’ Child Sexual Abuse Settlement Keeps Internal Files Private, For Now

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Child Sexual Abuse

Boy Scouts’ Child Sexual Abuse Settlement Keeps Internal Files Private, For Now

A California child sexual abuse lawsuit settlement last week will allow the Boy Scouts of America to keep its “perversion files” outside of public view for a little bit longer. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a settlement has been reached between a 20-year old Santa Barbara man and the Boy Scouts of America.  The man was sexually abused at age 12 and 13 by a Scout leader named Al Stein.  Mr. Stein plead no contest to charges that he endangered three boys in 2007.  He later violated his probation when child pornography was found on his cell phone. The case had begun to receive attention from lawyers across the nation because the victim’s attorney had been successful in securing the Boy Scouts’ “perversion files” during the course of discovery and fact-finding.  The “perversion files” are internal files that Boy Scouts of America has been amassing since the 1920’s identifying sexually abusive scout leaders and their victims. Boy Scouts of America has fought for many years to keep these files secret.  The Supreme Court of Oregon ordered 20 years of files (1965 to 1985) released in a 2012 child sexual abuse lawsuit that ultimately led to a $20 million jury verdict.  Had the California lawsuit gone forward, much more recent perversion files could have been introduced into evidence.  This evidence would presumably serve to refute Boy Scouts’ claims that in recent years they have cleaned house and are taking child protection much more seriously. Perhaps it is the cynic in me, but this settlement seems much more motivated by the Boy Scouts’ preference to keep the newer “perversion files” sealed from public view, rather than by an interest in doing right by the victimized person.  Boy Scouts claims the files need to be kept secret in order to protect the victims, as well as those scout leaders who have been “falsely” accused.  According to the L.A. Times, a review of some previously disclosed “perversion files” reveals a dogged effort  by the Boy Scouts to protect abusive scout masters from criminal responsibility, and protect the organization’s reputation. It seems to me that the Boy Scouts could easily release the perversion files – if they wanted to — and redact or black out the names of the victims in order to protect their privacy.  This is what the Boy Scouts would do if they were truly interested in seeing justice done for the kids who were entrusted to them. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths that organizations will go to in order to avoid responsibility for the reprehensible actions of a small group of sick individuals — quite often to the detriment of admittedly innocent child victims.  Don’t these organizations realize that their tactics and strategies actually serve to compound the damage that has already been done to these young kids? I am guessing that it won’t be...

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Pope Francis Shows Strong Leadership Can Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Child Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis Shows Strong Leadership Can Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis is one of the most revered men on Earth, and he probably doesn’t care what one personal injury lawyer in Winter Park, Florida, thinks about him, but I can’t help but be impressed by how this man has taken on the scourge of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.  (Disclaimer:  I am not Catholic.) The Associated Press has reported that Pope Francis has forcibly removed Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano from his duties in the diocese of Paraguay.  In addition to some doctrinal differences, the Pope took issue with Bishop Livieres’ protection and sanctuary offered to an Argentine priest, the Reverend Carlos Urrutigoity. Father Urrutigoity had previously been a Priest in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which paid a $400,000.00 sexual misconduct settlement over allegations made against Father Urrutigoity and another priest.  Although Father Urrutigooity was never charged with a crime before leaving the United States, one of his former bosses called him “a serious threat to young people.” As an attorney that represents victims of child sexual abuse here in Florida, I am a big fan of any leader who is willing to step outside of a “comfort zone”, and take active steps to eliminate child abuse and molestation from any youth-centered organization.  Pope Francis fortunately seems to have decided that it is time for the Catholic Church to not only stop protecting guilty Priests, but also to begin punishing those in the church who have been protecting the guilty. If you have any questions about a Florida child sexual abuse case, or how organizations and institutions can be held liable for failing to protect children from abusers and predators, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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