PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – Six men have settled lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America that claimed the group failed to protect them from sexual abuse at the hands of a former Scout leader.
Lawyer Kelly Clark told reporters he hoped the settlement would make Boy Scouts a safer place for kids.
As part of the settlement, the Boy Scouts agreed to pay Oregon $2.25 million. In April, a Multnomah County jury awarded one of the six men, Kerry Lewis, $20 million in punitive damages, after finding that the group did not protect him from former assistant scoutmaster Timur Dikes, who admitted to having molested Lewis, now 38, when he was about 12 years old.
Six weeks later, the Boy Scouts reportedly instituted mandatory youth-protection training.
Attorney Paul Mones said he hoped the settlement sent a message to other youth organizations.
A second plaintiff was scheduled to go to trial Oct. 15, but Clark told reporters the men decided to settle their claims to avoid an expected appeal from the Boy Scouts and the years of litigation that would bring.
Clark said Lewis and the other men “stood courageously, and fought long and hard during three and a half years of litigation, and they take pride in knowing that they helped make a good organization better, and they are very gratified knowing that a jury of this community … stood with them.”
Still on the table is whether the Oregon Supreme Court will order the Boy Scouts to make their 2,000-pages of “perversion files” public.
The files are the group’s collection of information on 1,247 former scouting volunteers who were suspected of molesting boys, among other things.