Four former Idaho Scouts filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, alleging that both organizations knew about the abusers and the risks they posed to boys.
The LDS, which sponsored three of the four troops involved, and the Boy Scouts failed to remove abusers from the organization or notify police or parents, even after boys and their parents told them about cases of abuse or rape, lawyers for the victims said.
The four plaintiffs, identified in the lawsuit as John Doe I through IV, were allegedly sexually abused by Boy Scout leaders in Boise, Lewiston and McCall in the 1970s and '80s.
The men are seeking damages in excess of $75,000 each, with exact amounts to be determined by a jury, attorney Timothy Walton of Boise said.
Mostly, Walton said, the men want an apology. Parents and Scouts "were told to trust every Scoutmaster when the organizations knew of this danger," he said.
Attorney Gilion Dumas of Portland said it is common for sexual abuse victims to wait years before coming forward. "So few children, when they're abused, tell anybody," she said. She said she believes other Scouts who were victims of sexual abuse are still living in the Boise area.
"Just by a review of the information contained in the Boy Scouts' own records and from newspaper stories, there were at least 15 pedophile Scout leaders in southern Idaho and Lewiston," lawyer Andrew Chasan said in a statement.
Three of the men say they were in troops sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that they were abused by Scout leaders while at Scouting functions or on camping trips.
The fourth says he was in a troop sponsored by the Elks Club in Lewiston when he was abused.
In the lawsuit, the men allege the LDS Church was such a proponent of Scouting that it made joining the Boy Scouts an official part of the Aaronic Priesthood, a status the Church confers on boys starting at age 12. The men contend every LDS ward was supposed to maintain a Scout troop, and that church leaders were in charge of selecting and supervising Scout leaders.
The Boy Scouts began keeping files on people who were deemed ineligible to volunteer for the organization - because they molested children, stole money from the organization or committed other transgressions - as early as 1920, according to the lawsuit.
The men contend that the existence of those files shows the Boy Scouts of America knew Scouts faced a real risk of abuse.
They say the BSA's failure to warn prospective and current Scouts, their parents and others shows a pattern of fraud and misrepresentation. Likewise, the men say the LDS Church knew that some of its Scoutmasters and troop leaders had molested boys in the past and that it nevertheless continued to put boys in danger.
John Doe I and John Doe II say they were around 12 years old when the same Scout leader began abusing them on camping trips. Doe I also says the abuse happened in 1982 at a ward building and in the attic of the BSA Council headquarters in Boise.
John Doe III contends he was about 14 years old in 1981 when a different Scout leader abused him on a weeklong camping trip. He says even though that Scout leader was placed in the Boy Scout's ineligible volunteer files a few years later for allegedly molesting Scouts.
John Doe IV says he was a member of Scout Troop 176 in Lewiston when his Scout leader began molesting him.
Katie Terhune: 377-6219