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13 File Child Victims Act Suit Against Boy Scout Council

Thirteen people, currently living throughout the United States, are listed as plaintiffs in a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed against the Allegheny Highlands Council in state Supreme Court in Chautauqua County.

All of those identified in the single suit claim to have been minors when they were victims of sexual abuse or inappropriate sexual contact by either a scout leader or Boy Scout camp personnel. The abuse occurred as early as 1947 and as recently as 2010. The 13 plaintiffs are being represented by the lawfirm Slater Slater Schulman LLP out of Melville, N.Y. — which, according to its website, is representing more than 14,000 people in claims against the Boy Scouts of America.

Other than the Falconer-based Allegheny Highlands Council listed as a defendant, no one is specifically named as having committed the abuse. However, the suit states: “The individuals committing the sexual abuse alleged herein were adult male leaders, volunteers, scoutmasters and/or members of BSA Local Council who were assigned by BSA Local Council to supervise, mentor, and instruct youth who were involved in scouting activities of BSA. In this capacity, the individuals committing the sexual alleged herein were under the supervision of BSA Local Council.”

The claims break down as follows:

¯ A Westminster, Colo., resident stated he was sexually abused around 1972 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ An Akron, Ohio, man said was abused around 1962 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ A Stuart, Fla., man claims to have been abused around 1952 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ An Angola, N.Y., man stated the sexual abuse he endured occurred around 2010 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ A Parker, Colo., man stated he was sexually abused around 1987 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ A Page, Ariz., man said he was the victim of abuse around 1995 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ A Borrego Springs, Calif., resident said he was victimized around 1964 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ A Kalkaska, Mich., man claims to have been abused around 1983 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ An Olean, N.Y., man said he was abused around 1990 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ A Canyonville, Ore., man said his abused occurred around 1987 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ A Slingerland, N.Y., man said he was abused around 1947 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ An Elmira, N.Y., man said he was the victim of abuse around 1982 while under the supervision of the council;

¯ A Salida, Colo., man stated he was abused around 1972 while under the supervision of the council.

The suit states: “As a direct and proximate result of BSA Local Council’s acts, and/or omissions, Plaintiffs suffered and continue to suffer serious injuries, including physical pain and discomfort, mental and emotional distress, anxiety, anger, loss of enjoyment of life, including being deprived of their childhood and adolescence, embarassment, shame, humiliation, medical and/or counseling expenses and other damages.”

Claims made in the suit include: council was negligent in its hiring and supervision of those alleged to have abused minors; the council owed a duty to train and educate its leaders; the council failed to exercise reasonable care; leaders failed to properly investigate claims of abuse and failed to provide services to victims; and the harm was “foreseeable.”

The Allegheny Highlands Council serves Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties in New York and McKean and Potter counties in Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, as part of records released in the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy case, it was learned that 68 claims of abuse had been made against the local council. It’s unclear how many, if any, are tied to the suit filed this week.

Slater Slater Schulman did not return a message seeking comment Thursday.

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