Pennsylvania is having a bad year, when it comes to sex-abuse, nonprofits and young boys. First, we had the Sandusky trial, where the former Penn State coach abused young boys he met through his charity, The Second Mile.
Now, we're hearing that the Boy Scouts scandal involved the Philadelphia chapter as well. According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, several unsavory details have emerged in the wake of the "perversion files" release yesterday.
The perversion files were part of the Oregon Supreme Court settlement reached between six plaintiffs and the Boy Scouts of America. The $18.5 million settlement between the Scouts and the plaintiffs in the called for the release of secret documents held at the organization’s headquarters in Texas.
The documentation contained details and information on sexual abuse in the organization, namely abuse involving volunteers and scouts. Some of the documentation included handwritten letters from boys, alleging abuse. Other information included detailed accounts of alleged molesters confessing before police, with the organization covering up the charges and failing to take action.
One of these cases involves the Boy Scouts of Philadelphia. After a Scout leader in Pittsburg made sexual advances to a young boy in 1979, the leader resigned. The organization never contacted authorities and concluded that it had no duty to do so, as it determined that the boy was not a Scout.
That’s where they’re wrong. They had a duty, a legal duty. And this duty was to the boy, whether or not he was a Scout. If he was in the care of the Scout leader, then there was a duty to ensure that the boy was not subject to unreasonable harm.
Some professionals have a duty under reporting laws to report sex abuse against a minor, if they are aware of it. Negligence per se is when negligence arises out of a statutory duty. But reporting sex abuse isn’t just a hard and fast statutory duty. It’s also the duty of a reasonable person. And the reasonable person is the standard used in negligence lawsuits.
Would a reasonable person have reported a sexual advance towards a young boy, even if the boy was not officially a Scout member?
A similar question was already asked in the Penn State scandal, where the boys weren’t technically students at Penn State. And we all know what the criminal court said in that case.
- Search Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers (FindLaw)
- Breakdown of Mike McQueary’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Penn State (FindLaw’s Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Scandal Signal the End? (FindLaw’s Injured)
- $1.4M Verdict in Boy Scouts of America, LDS Church Molestation Case (FindLaw’s Decided Blog)