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Alleged abuse victim and Boy Scouts close to deal

  • Article by: STEVE KARNOWSKI
  • Associated Press
  • May 5, 2014 - 9:06 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — Attorneys for a former Boy Scout who alleges that he was sexually abused by a Minnesota scoutmaster said Monday that their client has reached a legal settlement in principal with the Boy Scouts of America.

The plaintiff, who is identified only as John Doe 180 in the lawsuit, sued the Boy Scouts and other defendants in 2011, alleging they were negligent in allowing the former scoutmaster, Peter Stibal II, access to children and failing to warn parents and adult leaders about the risks of pedophiles infiltrating Scouting. Stibal, who was accused of sexually abusing him in 2008, was sentenced in 2011 to more than 21 years in prison for molesting the youth and three other Scouts.

Attorney Jeff Anderson said he wasn't ready to disclose the terms until the details are nailed down. But he said they settled only with the national Boy Scouts of America. They earlier dropped John Doe 180's former troop, the local Northern Star Council and River Hills United Methodist Church in Burnsville, which sponsored his troop, from the lawsuit, he said.

"I'm satisfied it's settled, so we advised the court this morning we've come to terms and now we need to hammer it out and get it right and make sure we're on the same page," Anderson said.

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America said it was pleased it was able to reach a settlement.

"The behavior included in these reports runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who may be a victim of this type of reprehensible behavior," spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement Monday.

The Northern Star Council said in a statement that it was "deeply saddened" by the case. The council said it works continually "to ensure that this never happens within the Scouting program."

"Today Scouting is one of the safest places for children in our community. We are constantly strengthening our systems and safeguards to keep it that way," it said.

The lawsuit was set to go to trial last September but was postponed because Ramsey County District Judge Elena Ostby was not available on the trial date.

In January 2013, Ostby ordered the Scouts to give Anderson a redacted batch of confidential internal national files on adult volunteers suspected of abuse, commonly known among Scouting officials as "ineligible volunteer" or "perversion files." The files covered 1999-2008, a more recent period than the more than 1,200 similar files made public in an Oregon case in 2012, which covered 1965-1985.

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