Idaho Boy Scout Trial Slated for May 6th

In sex abuse cases against trusted organizations like churches or the Boy Scouts, their internal documents are always key to success.  These documents show the institutional practices, conduct, and secrets – and can show the level of fault the organization should bear for the abuse.

The importance of internal documents was made particularly clear in one of our Boy Scouts sex abuse cases. My law partner Ashley Vaughn and I are scheduled to start trial in Idaho on May 6th and the judge has ruled in our favor concerning the Boy Scouts’ key documents, the “Ineligible Volunteer Files” from what BSA labeled the “Perversion” category involving child sexual abuse.

In preparation for the May trial, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill recently issued two orders:

On March 15, Judge Winmill ruled that we can introduce over 1,200 of the Boy Scouts’ “Ineligible Volunteer” files as evidence in the trial. These “IV Files” are files BSA created on adult Scout volunteers accused of molesting boys in Scouting. The files we can use at trial date from the 1940s through 1977.

On April 17, Judge Winmill ruled that we can ask the jury to award punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.

In an Idaho Statesman interview, I explained the significance of the punitive damages decision.  While compensatory damages are meant to compensate the victim, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for bad conduct and to deter similar bad conduct by this defendant and others.

The IV Files are relevant to our claims for constructive fraud. They are also relevant to the new claim for punitive damages. As Judge Winmill ruled earlier in this case: “[I]t is crucial for the jurors to examine the contents of the IV files – the contents will reveal whether there was a critical mass of evidence of predators in BSA’s ranks during the relevant time frame that BSA’s statements of safety were false and its silence a constructive fraud that warrants punitive damages.”

 

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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