Montana Boy Scout Sex Abuse Case Will Go to a Jury Trial

montana1It is a significant, landmark victory for survivor of sexual abuse.  The Montana Supreme Court has denied a petition for an appeal by the Boy Scouts of America. The Court agreed with the trial judge that a Montana jury should decide the case involving women raped by a Kalispell scout leader in the 1970s when they were girls in a co-ed Explorer Post.

The Boy Scouts of America had argued that the Montana statute of limitations barred the women from bringing a civil claim against the organization.  However, the state Supreme Court ruled otherwise. The Court recognized that Montana’s statute of limitations runs from when child sexual abuse victims make the “causal connection” between their abuse as a child and their emotional and psychological difficulties that manifested as adults.

A lawsuit seeking damages for the rapes was filed in 2011 by five of the victims who now are in their 50s. The lawsuit came after an Oregon court ordered the release of the Boy Scout “Perversion Files,” which detailed records kept by the organization of leaders who abused children.  William Leininger Jr. was sent to prison after he was convicted in 1976 of six rapes of young female Explorer Scouts. He committed another sexual assault in 1982 and eventually died in prison in 2002 at age 80.

This is a big win for these women. They look forward to presenting their case to a jury. It will be the first time in the country that a jury hears a fraud claim against the Boy Scouts of America. These women are suing the BSA for fraud as well as negligence, based on evidence that the BSA knew pedophiles targeted scouting, hid that danger from children and their parents, and instead marketed scouting as a safe and fun activity led by trustworthy adults.

I am very pleased the women will have their day in court and will be able to seek justice for their suffering.


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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