(NEW YORK) — A jury ruled against the Boy Scouts of America on Monday in a multi-million dollar lawsuit in which the organization was accused of keeping a secret file of scout masters who had been accused of abusing scouts during the 1970s.
The plaintiff in the case says that he was sexually assaulted by a scout master as a child. Despite winning the lawsuit, his attorney Paul Slager said that “it’s not the kind of situation that, as a person who represents victims of child sexual abuse, that I really see as a victory.” Instead, he said, “it’s more a validation and an important statement.”
The jury awarded the plaintiff $7 million. Slager said that award is “a very, very loud statement in recognition of the suffering that one man, one very courageous man here in Connecticut, has been through.”
The Boy Scouts of America provided a statement on the ruling to ABC News, in which the organization said it “[appreciates] the court’s time in the evaluation of this matter” though the Scouts “disagree with the findings” the organization says it will “…review the decision and comply accordingly.”
“Youth protection is of paramount importance to the Boy Scouts of America, and our organization has always focused on the best interests of our youth,” the statement read. “In the nearly four decades since these events took place we have continued to develop and enhance our efforts to protect youth, regularly consulting with experts from law enforcement, child safety, psychology, and other disciplines to ensure its efforts consistently evolve along with the ever-changing awareness of the dangers and challenges facing youth.”
The Boy Scouts of America also note that the group aims to prevent child abuse by combining education on the subject with a comprehensive selection process for leaders and criminal background and other checks.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
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