SAN ANTONIO (CN) – A boy whose camp counselor pled guilty to sexually assaulting him and other campers at Camp Stewart for Boys can proceed with some claims in civil court, a federal judge ruled.
A minor identified as C.W. filed a complaint in federal court claiming Camp Stewart for Boys, the American Institute for Foreign Study and Camp America neglected to run a background check on camp counselor Scott Zirus. The camper and his representative say a check would have shown that Zirus was a pedophile at the time he was hired in Australia.
Zirus sexually assaulted the camper during his three week stay at Camp Stewart for Boys in July of 2009, the complaint says. Campers from age six to 16 attend the overnight camp in Kerr County, Texas.
Zirus is now serving 40 years in prison since pleading guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual contact with a child and continuous sexual abuse of a child younger than 14, according to the camper’s complaint.
The camper filed a civil suit against Zirus for sexual assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The camper initially sued the corporate parties for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty, later adding fraud and negligent misrepresentation in an amended complaint.
U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez issued a 9-page order on Sept. 28, addressing various motions to dismiss.
The judge confirmed that the court has subject matter jurisdiction and that the camper can pursue a civil action, even though Zirus was not convicted of a federal crime. However, the judge nixed the camper’s emotional distress claim against Camp Stewart for Boys, finding that the plaintiff has alternate claims that he can make.
Rodriguez also tossed the fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims against the corporate parties due to a lack of particularity, but gave the camper an opportunity to amend the complaint.
On the other hand, the judge denied Zirus’ pro se motion to dismiss, unconvinced by the prisoner’s claims of double jeopardy and violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rodriguez issued orders on Sept. 28, denying Zirus’ motions to dismiss the claims brought against him by campers in two additionalcomplaints. A fourth boy has filed an independent lawsuit after initially filing a complaint in intervention.