Pa. man sues Boy Scouts over alleged abuse in 1976
A Pennsylvania man on Friday sued the Boy Scouts of America, alleging that the youth organization failed to protect him from sexual abuse by a Scoutmaster nearly 37 years ago and then covered it up.
Carl Maxwell Jr. was one of five boys, ages 13 and 14, who came forward in July 1976 to accuse Rodger L. Beatty of repeatedly molesting them at the man's home and on camping trips, according to records in the Scouts' confidential files on alleged sexual abuse.
Despite the boys' detailed, handwritten statements to Scouting officials in Newport, Perry County, they allowed Beatty to resign and quietly leave town without reporting him to the police, the Los Angeles Times reported in October. The Times' account was based on the Scouting records and interviews with Maxwell and others who corroborated his story.
“All of us boys — two of them's dead now — but all of us were scarred, and scarred for life by that,” Maxwell said last fall, referring to Beatty's alleged abuse. “And he got away with that.”
In his lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, Maxwell alleged that local Scouting officials in the summer of 1976 assured him and his parents that the matter was “in the right hands” and that they would pursue legal action against Beatty.
Instead, the officials did nothing, the complaint alleges, “because they did not want to discuss Beatty's sexual abuse publicly and wanted to conceal to the public and all legal and law enforcement authorities that Beatty's acts of sexual abuse ... were permitted to occur.”
Officials also misled Maxwell into believing that he had “no other legal course of action” against Beatty, the complaint states. In part because of the Scouts' “fraudulent concealment,” Pennsylvania's statute of limitations does not bar Maxwell's lawsuit, said his attorney, Alexander Palamarchuk.
Beatty went on to become a University of Pittsburgh social worker, educator and AIDS researcher. He died in November at the age of 66 after suffering a massive stroke in September. The Los Angeles Times had tried to contact him weeks before he fell ill, but he did not respond to messages.
Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said Friday that officials had not seen Maxwell's complaint and could not comment on it.
Maxwell, 50, is seeking unspecified damages.
The Scouts' confidential files have been used for nearly a century to keep suspected molesters out of its ranks. Beatty's records are among nearly 1,900 such files The Times has reviewed in the past year. The files show that hundreds of suspected molesters, many of them respected members of their communities, were never reported to authorities.
Courts in California and Texas have ordered more recent files turned over to attorneys in civil lawsuits, but not made public.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Judge jails Kentucky clerk for refusing marriage licenses
- 1 Marine killed, 9 hurt in helicopter hard landing
- Leads sparse in hunt for Illinois officer’s killers
- Judge clears way for revival of NSA wiretap suit
- Army fully opens Ranger School to female soldiers
- VA enrollment data labeled unreliable
- 34th senator signs on to Iran nuclear deal, crumbling GOP’s hopes to override veto
- Obama: Alaska proof of climate change dangers
- Senate Dems get 34th vote to hand Obama victory on Iran deal
- Clerk aims to block Ky. governor’s order
- Baltimore officers on track for trial