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Idaho men file sex abuse lawsuit against Boy Scouts, LDS church

Posted at 1:48 PM, May 01, 2017

A new lawsuit claims The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and The Boy Scouts of America knew about sexual abuse going on the Boy Scouts but did nothing to stop it. 

Five Idaho men, who say they were sexually abused as kids while in Boy Scouts, are suing the organization and the Mormon Church because they say both groups fraudulently presented the Boy Scouts as a safe, wholesome activity for boys.

One of those men is Riley Gilroy. 

Gilroy alleges he was sexually abused as a nine-year-old member of an Idaho Boy Scout troop. 

The lawsuit states Gilroy was sexual abused by a Scout leader on many camping trips. The lawsuit also claims Gilroy witnessed the leader abuse other scouts on the same camping trips. 

"When I found out that they knew about [James] Scmidt, in particular, prior to him hurting me... and they've been covering it up the whole time... when I found out about that, I was like, oh heck no," Gilroy said. 

Gilroy is now 44, but he says the abuse he endured as a Scout has had lasting effects.

"My ability to trust, to have an emotional relationship with someone, even raising my own children, it's had a profound effect on my life," Gilroy said. 

The attorneys for the five plaintiffs are accusing the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts of fraud and constructive fraud. An attorney for the plaintiffs, Andrew Chasan, says records of known child abuse were kept by the organizations.

"For The Boy Scouts of America in particular, that organization has known for decades... that they had a problem with pedophile Scout leaders because they kept files on them," Chasan said. 

Gilroy says it wasn't easy coming out as a victim of abuse, but he hopes doing so will inspire other victims to come forward.

 "I hope to right a wrong, that The Boy Scouts of America and the LDS Church will be held accountable for failing to keep kids safe," he said. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints responded to our request for comment stating:

“We have only recently learned about this legal action, and will take time to understand it fully and to respond as appropriate.”

The Boy Scouts of America responded to the lawsuit today: 

“The behavior included in these allegations is abhorrent and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members. The BSA is outraged there have been times when Scouts were abused and we sincerely apologize to victims and their families.
 
“In the many years since these actions occurred, we have continued to strengthen our efforts to protect youth. We seek to prevent child abuse through comprehensive policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse. These include a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff, criminal background checks, requiring two or more adult leaders be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.”
 
The BSA offers assistance with counseling to any Scout, former Scout, or the family member of any Scout who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting. The BSA has a toll-free help line (855-295-1531) and email contact address (scouthelp@scouting.org) for these sensitive matters.”