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A state court jury in Oregon found the Boy Scouts of America negligent in a sexual abuse case Tuesday. The verdict awarded more than $1 million in damages to Kerry Lewis, now 38, who said he was molested by an assistant scoutmaster in a troop partially sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1983 and 1984.
According to The Wall Street Journal, "The Multnomah County Circuit Court jury took less than three days to find that the Boy Scouts of America National Council of Irving, Texas, and the local Cascade Pacific Council failed to protect the 38-year-old plaintiff from abuse as a youth. The jury found the national body 60% negligent for the abuse and the local council just 15% negligent, assessing economic damages of $840,000 and $210,000, respectively."
Lewis's attorneys want more than $25 million in punitive damages for their client, which the court will debate starting next week.
The jury also found the Mormons who sponsored the Boy Scout troop 25% negligent. The church has already reached a cash settlement with the plaintiff, according to the Journal.
"Attorneys arguing for the plaintiff, Kerry Lewis, called Boy Scouts officials reckless in permitting an assistant scoutmaster named Timur Dykes to work with a local troop even after Mr. Dykes had admitted to a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that he had molested Boy Scouts in the past. That denomination, known as the Mormons, had sponsored the troop to which the plaintiff belonged. The jury found the church 25% responsible for negligence, but since it had already reached a cash settlement with Mr. Lewis, the church won't make any additional payment after Tuesday's verdict."
The case drew attention in part because it represented the first time the BSA was forced to open secret files it has compiled on pedophiles in its membership dating back to 1964.