News from Montana


Two men filed lawsuits today against the Boy Scouts of America and Montana Council alleging they were sexually abused by their Scout leaders when they were involved in Boy Scout troops in Montana. The men are identified only by initials, M.M. and M.B., under Montana law that allows survivors of child sexual abuse to file suit under fictitious names to protect their privacy.

M.M. alleges he was sexually abused for approximately three years from 1968 to 1971 by his Scout leader Clare Conroy when he was in Boy Scout Troop 26 in Hamilton, sponsored by the Elks Club. M.B. alleges he was sexually abused for approximately five years from 1980 to 1985 by his Scout leader George C. Deblois when he was in Boy Scout Troop 190, sponsored by the Malstrom Air Force Base Kiwanis in Great Falls.


In approximately 1970, M.M. rode his bike with a friend to the home of one of the other adult Scout leaders for Troop 26 and told him about Conroy’s abuse. That man took no action to stop the abuse. Conroy continued to sexually abuse M.M. until 1971, when M.M. finally escaped by quitting Scouting. He never went back.

“This young Scout told a trusted Scout leader that his Scoutmaster was sexually abusing him, and the Boy Scouts did nothing to remove the man from Scouting, report him to law enforcement, or even limit his access to children,” said Ashley Vaughn, one of the attorneys for the two plaintiffs.

M.M. said he came forward in hopes of gaining justice for himself and others affected by the abuse they experienced, adding, “I hope that this case will help right the wrong that was done to me and others when we were children in Boy Scouts.”

Conroy had been an adult Scout leader since approximately 1930 and remained a Scout leader for Troop 26 until 1984. In 1954, BSA awarded him the Silver Beaver Award—the highest honor for volunteer Scout leaders.

M.M. now lives in Oregon.


Deblois acted as a surrogate father to M.B. because M.B.’s father was in the military and frequently deployed, and M.B. was one of six kids. The lawsuit alleges that Deblois molested M.B. in Deblois’s car on the way to and from Scouting events, at Deblois’s home, and on camping and hiking trips.

Even after moving away from Montana as a teenager, M.B. was scared to resume Scouting because he was afraid the same thing would happen to him that had happened with Deblois.

M.B. still lives in Montana.


Both suits allege that the Boy Scouts and Montana Council were negligent and committed fraud.  The defendants were negligent by failing to supervise the men who abused plaintiffs and by failing to implement and enforce proper child protection policies, despite decades of notice about child sexual abuse in Scouting by the time of the plaintiffs’ abuse.

“The Boy Scouts had a duty to protect the children in its program from the known danger of child molesters. Instead, BSA put the reputation of the program and its adult Scout leaders before children’s safety,” said Gilion Dumas, one of the attorneys for the two men.

Since at least the 1920s, BSA regularly received reports from its local Councils (like the Montana Council) that Scout leaders were sexually abusing Scouts. Based on those reports, BSA created a file system now known as the “Ineligible Volunteer Files” to keep track of volunteers BSA had kicked out of Scouting, including for sexually abusing Scouts. BSA labeled the files that tracked sexual deviancy “Perversion Files.”

Plaintiffs’ fraud claim is largely based on BSA’s Ineligible Volunteer Files. “From its own files, BSA had knowledge about the problem of child sexual abuse in Scouting and how it occurred,” said Vaughn. “Despite that knowledge, BSA never warned Scouts or their parents about the risk of abuse in Scouting or taught the children how to protect themselves or to report. Hiding that important information from Scouts and the public was fraudulent.”

Courts have ordered the Boy Scouts to produce its Ineligible Volunteer “Perversion” Files in child sexual abuse cases. In a Montana case handled by Dumas and Vaughn involving an Explorer Scout leader’s sexual abuse of six women in the 1970s in Kalispell, the court ordered BSA to produce all existing files dated through 1976. That case settled earlier this year, shortly before trial was scheduled to begin.


Montana State Capitol building

Montana recently changed the statute of limitations for adult survivors of child sexual abuse. The new law opens a “window” for claims that were barred by the prior statute of limitations. Under some circumstances, even if a claim is time barred under the old deadline, survivors have a window until May 7, 2020 to bring a claim. Going forward, the new law extends the deadline for filing a civil action for child sexual abuse to age 27 or three years “after the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the injury was caused by the act of childhood sexual abuse.”

Dumas explained, “It is well-documented that child abuse survivors rarely report the abuse while it is happening and often do not report until well into adulthood, after they realize the long term effects of the abuse on their lives or finally feel safe enough to report.” Montana, New York, New Jersey, California, and other states all have recently passed laws extending the statute of limitations for child abuse victims.

“We are proud to represent these men in finally seeking the justice they deserve. Even though the Boy Scouts have recently improved their child abuse protection policies, the Boy Scouts have not been held accountable for the abuse these men suffered and its effect on their lives,” said Vaughn. “We encourage anyone who was abused in Boy Scouts to come forward.”

Dumas and Vaughn currently represent adults with child sexual abuse claims against BSA in Montana, Oregon, California, Iowa, and New York and have had prior cases against BSA in Idaho, Washington, Alaska, Texas, and other states. They are working with Montana attorney Jim Molloy on these cases.

For more information, contact:

Attorney Ashley L. Vaughn at 503-765-5313,

Attorney Gilion C. Dumas at 503-952-6789,

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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