A Seattle man identified in court documents as “S.O.” posed a difficult question to the Boy Scouts of America: “When the Boy Scouts say your kids are going to be safe, your kids are going to be safe, what surety do they have? I’m a testament that your kids aren’t safe.”
The now-grown man is one of 12 plaintiffs who have filed a civil lawsuit in King County Superior Court against the Boy Scouts claiming the national organization didn’t protect them from sexual abuse at the hands of their scout masters and leaders.
“He was my scoutmaster, and everybody liked him and trusted him,” S.O. said in a video provided by his attorneys, Tim Kosnoff and Dan Fasy.
Three of the alleged abusers named in the lawsuit were prosecuted, including former Pierce County scoutmaster Price Nick Miller, who is currently serving 10 years to life in prison for raping and sexually molesting two of his scouts.
But for the others, this is the first time their names have been publicly linked to sexual abuse allegations, and it’s too late for criminal charges to be filed, because the alleged abuse reportedly happened between the late 1960s and 2008.
According to the suit, 48-year old Jerome “Reggie” Jainga of Bonney Lake molested not only “S.O.” but another boy identified in the documents as D.T.
Much of the alleged abuse described in the 124-page lawsuit is said to have happened at Boy Scout camps in Western Washington, including Camps Brinkley, Sevenich, Omache and Parsons where the men were trusted leaders. “Unfortunately, the positive male role model decided to take them alone, isolate them from their parents, the other scouts and repeatedly sexually abuse them,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Don Fasy at a news conference in Seattle on Thursday.
In addition to the Boy Scouts of America, many local churches are named as defendants. Plaintiffs’ attorney Tim Kosnoff explained “part of our goal here is to persuade local sponsoring organizations to quit, to resign and to have no further affiliation with Boy Scouts of America National, unless they want to lose their church, their school, their homes to multi-million dollar verdicts.”
In the documents, alleged victim D.C. claims 51-year old Matthew Obert Weed of Carnation fondled and orally sodomized him at Camp Brinkley from 1982-84, where Weed was the business manager.
"It never quite goes away,” D.C. said of the shame and the pain. D.C. also told KIRO 7 he joined the suit because he wants the Boy Scouts and others to do more to prevent the abuse of children, not just defend lawsuits.
“They’re a great organization, but I don’t know that even if there were radical changes, and more steps of prevention taken, I don’t know that in good conscience I could allow my children to be a part of it," he said.
KIRO 7 Reporter Amy Clancy contacted both Jainga and Weed for comment, but so far has not heard back.
There is no dollar amount listed for damages in the suit.
When asked about the lawsuit, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America would not comment specifically, but emailed Clancy: "Any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable.”
Deron Smith, spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, provided the following statement to KIRO 7 Eyewitness News regarding a civil lawsuit that alleges 12 Boy Scouts were sexually assaulted by Scout leaders and employees:
“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.”
Click here to view the PDF documents >>> PDF: Part of the court complaint against the Boy Scouts of America