Boxes full of "ineligible volunteer" files from the Boy Scouts of America sit next to a large placard with the Boy Scout oath. The files were made public in 2012. The Boy Scouts had a file on Calvin Malone that was destroyed, the plaintiff’s attorneys say. (The Associated Press/)
Three former Portland Boy Scouts filed a $21 million lawsuit Wednesday against the Boy Scouts of America and the local Cascade Pacific Council, alleging they were molested in the 1970s by their Scout leader who was allowed unfettered access to boys despite past abuses.
The lawsuit is the latest alleging negligence by the Boy Scouts regarding convicted pedophile Calvin Malone.
"The tragedy is that most of this abuse happened after the Boy Scouts of America learned that Malone was abusing boys and decided to let him back in as a Scout leader,” said Peter Janci, the Portland attorney representing the men. "These young lives were shattered – and it was completely avoidable.”
Four other men have a civil lawsuit pending in Montana against the Boy Scouts of America for Malone’s alleged abuse of Scouts there after he left Oregon. It took a court order in Montana to force the Boy Scouts to turn over some documents about Malone, according to Janci.
The new lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court accuses the Boy Scouts of America of letting Malone work as a leader in 1974 despite learning that he "had sexually abused at least one Scout in California in or around 1970” and bought and provided alcohol to Scouts. The plaintiffs discovered in 2014 that the Boy Scouts of America had earlier knowledge of Malone’s abuses.
Malone was first kicked out of Scouting in California around 1970. Boy Scout documents, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, show that the organization had opened one of its secret files on Malone at the national headquarters. According to the agency’s policies, the discovery should have made Malone "ineligible” to be a Scout leader in the future, the three Oregon men contend.
But the Boy Scouts in 1974 rehired Malone as a Scout leader. At that time, the Boy Scouts sent a letter to the regional headquarters in Oregon marked "personal and confidential.” It alerted the local office to "be on the lookout for anything that might cause you to have concern” about the way Malone "conducts himself,” according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
Malone took Scouts on out-of-state camping trips in a so-called "Scout-mobile” van and recruited hundreds of boys in the greater Portland area to join troops, the suit alleges.
It claims Malone fondled the genitals of one of the plaintiffs, identified as P.W., who was 13 at the time in 1975; sexually abused another plaintiff, R.M., when he was 11 that same year, and sexually abused the third plaintiff, M.J. when the boy was 10 in 1974.
The Boy Scouts of America kept giving Malone additional chances to work for the organization, allowing continued contact and sexual abuse of dozens of boys in Portland, California, Montana, Alabama and even Europe, the Oregon and Montana lawsuits allege.
Janci’s law firm, Crew Janci, of Portland, is also representing the four Montana Plaintiffs in lawsuits against the Boy Scouts, which also stem from abuse by Calvin Malone
Malone is being held in a special detention prison for sex offenders on McNeil Island near Seattle under a civil commitment. He was convicted in 1993 of first-degree rape of a child and two counts of first-degree child molestation in Snohomish County. Washington’s attorney general filed a petition to have Malone deemed a sexually violent predator, essentially blocking his scheduled 2012 release.
Last fall, in response to similar lawsuits filed by two other Oregon men against the Boy Scouts of America called the behavior outlined in the allegations "abhorrent,” adding that it "runs counter to everything for which the BSA stands.
"The Boy Scouts of America extends its deepest sympathies to any person who has been hurt by child sexual abuse. While we cannot discuss ongoing litigation, any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable,” the organization said then in a prepared statement.
— Maxine Bernstein