The Boy Scouts of America is facing a sexual assault lawsuit alleging that 17 former Boy Scouts were molested by their scoutmaster during camping trips and outings in Connecticut in the 1960s and early 1970s. The allegations include claims of a boy being molested more than 1,000 times, according to the Hartford Courant.
The now-deceased scoutmaster, Donald Dennis, targeted mostly 11- to 14-year-olds and one victim was 17 years old, according to the lawsuit, which details incidents in which Dennis allegedly assaulted two girls. At one point he forced two girls to watch him assault boys at his house, according to the lawsuit.
"I have a client who was molested over 1,000 times," Brooke Goffe, who is representing the former Scouts, said. "There was never any supervision on the camping trips. They just left this guy alone with all of these kids and he would go from tent to tent molesting boys."
Dennis, who died two years ago, was a local businessman and backup state trooper when he was living in Connecticut and allegedly molesting these boys. The former scoutmaster was allowed to spend hours alone and unsupervised with his Scouts during camping trips and used that time to molest the children, the lawsuit states.
Dennis isn’t, of course, the first scoutmaster to be accused of sexually abusing a Scout. The Boy Scouts of America has a fairly extensive history of sexual abuse allegations; the national organization has maintained internal files detailing sexual abuse allegations since 1919, according to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune. Those files indicate the Boy Scouts failed to act properly with suspected abuse cases. A separate investigation conducted by the Los Angeles Times also found the organization repeatedly failed to properly respond to cases of suspected sexual abuse.
The Dennis lawsuit alleges that the Boy Scouts ignored or did not act on suspicion that 17 boys were being abused. A dollar amount has not been associated with the case.