Wash. lawsuit accuses 13 of Boy Scouts abuses

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by AMY MORENO / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 29 at 7:20 PM

A lawsuit filed in King County is believed to be the largest of its kind against the Boy Scouts of America. Twelve alleged victims are accusing 13 men of molestation.

Attorneys say all the victims are from Western Washington.  They were children and young men who sought refuge in scouting.

“I was scared, I was embarrassed,” one victim said.  The victims are not being identified, but attorneys provided a videotaped interview with a man who said a Scoutmaster earned his trust and then took his innocence.  

“I'm a testament that your kids aren't safe,” he said.

In addition to going after the national organization, the lawsuit targets local charter organizations like the Chief Seattle Council.  It goes even further and names community groups, like the Catholic Church and Methodist Church, who sponsored the troops.  

“We think this lawsuit casts a wide net, but an appropriate net at a whole number of individuals who have to accept responsibility,” attorney Tim Kosnoff said.

More than 20 individuals and groups are named in the suit. Leaders for the Catholic Diocese say they haven't received the lawsuit and don't know why they're being targeted.  

“We're going to be looking at the local organizations that allowed the BSA to exist in Western Washington,” attorney Dan Fasy said.

KING 5 Investigators first uncovered details about the scout's perversion files that contained information about possible pedophiles, attorneys say it's more proof the organization doesn't do enough to protect children.  

“The system is broken,” Kosnoff said.

We contacted several organizations named in the suit; most did not want to comment.

The Boy Scouts of America issued this statement:

"Any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable. While we can't comment on the lawsuit, we deeply regret that there have been times when Scouts were abused, and for that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims. The BSA was one of the first youth programs to develop youth protection policies and education, and has continuously enhanced its multi-tiered policies and procedures, which now include background checks, comprehensive training programs, and safety policies, like requiring all members to report even suspicions of abuse directly to local law enforcement."

Only three of the men named in the lawsuit were prosecuted for molestation.  Attorneys say the statute of limitations has expired in the other cases.

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