Arizona sufferer of alleged intercourse abuse by Boy Scout chief speaks out in regards to the trauma
Editor’s Note: This story contains sexual abuse sensitive content. Discretion is recommended.
Lawsuits against local Boy Scout of America chapters of child sexual abuse have been filed across the country. Some of these are incidents that happened four to five decades ago.
In Arizona, Latter-day Saint Jesus Christ Church suffered seven lawsuits late last year for allegedly covering up decades of sexual abuse among Church-sponsored Boy Scout troops.
Chicago-based attorney Mark McKenna with Hurley McKenna and Mertz, a law firm specializing in these cases, told ABC15 that there had been at least 45 victims in Arizona that they had heard of. McKenna represented 30 of these victims in Arizona. One of his clients was a man who lived in Mesa when he was abused by a Master Scout who was also a member of the LDS Church he attended.
The man who asked us not to reveal his name is still traumatized by the crimes he suffered as a child. This victim was just 11 years old when he was first abused. His perpetrator was not only a Church member and a Master Scout, but also a neighbor who lived across from him. The victim told ABC15 that the perpetrator had taken him under his wing and would allow him to earn some money to help him with plumbing. He was someone whom the victim’s family trusted and respected.
He vividly remembered when the perpetrator’s “flirtations” became physical.
“I was 11 years old and we were driving home. He had an Astrovan, a blue van,” said the victim. He went on to say that the perpetrator asked him if he wanted to learn to drive. He made the victim sit on his lap and told him to hold the steering wheel while driving and not to let go of the steering wheel as this would result in a crash.
At that point, the one-way driving lesson changed his childhood forever.
“He did it the whole time I was driving. I just couldn’t take my hands off the wheel and it went on forever,” said the victim, describing how the perpetrator started touching him inappropriately while he was Drive.
This was just the beginning of seven years of abuse, abuse, threats, and shame and guilt that the victim harbored well into adulthood.
“I just couldn’t tell anyone. I kept it to myself every time,” said the victim.
Now, along with thousands of other victims, this man no longer keeps the secret to himself. He is part of a massive lawsuit that has forced the Boy Scouts of America to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
“These victims were abused for decades, including the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s,” MaKenna said.
Many of these cases cannot be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired, but McKenna said they were hoping to bring them to justice in a civil court.
“It doesn’t matter when it happened, a victim is a victim,” said the victim.
The LDS Church has sent ABC15 this statement regarding the lawsuits:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not tolerate abuse. Our hearts go out to all abuse survivors. The allegations in these allegations are grave and warrant thorough investigation. As of now, the Church has not had access to the information cited in this article and has not seen the “public records” that allegedly support the statements made. Claiming that the church has had access to the BSA’s ineligible volunteer files for many decades is simply false, as the church learned of the details of these files at the same time as the public did. These claims are carefully examined and handled appropriately. “
The Boy Scouts of America have also issued an elaborate statement highlighting the fact that filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy will allow them to build a trust that will be used to compensate victims.