Lawsuit – The men are seeking $8.5 million from the Boy Scouts and Mormon church
Two Portland-area men filed an $8.5 million lawsuit Wednesday against the Mormon church and the Boy Scouts, bringing to eight the number of former Scouts alleging sexual abuse by former troop and church leader Timur Van Dykes.
The eight men are seeking a total of more than $33 million in damages.
The lawsuits, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, contend the abuse began in the early 1980s, ended in the early ’90s and involved Boy Scout Troops 478 and 719, both of which were sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Boy Scouts has been part of the Mormon church’s official men’s program since 1913.
Six of the alleged victims agreed earlier this month to enter talks to settle their lawsuits but failed to reach a resolution.
Dykes, a registered sex offender, lives in Southwest Portland. He has been convicted of at least 26 sex crimes since 1983.
The state sex offender registry lists him as a predator who targets infant males and boys ages 7 to 15, warning that he “has used intimidation and threats to maintain victim compliance.”
He is one of about 50 Oregon leaders expelled by the Boy Scouts for sex abuse between 1970 and 1990 and more than 5,100 leaders expelled nationally since 1946, according to confidential Boy Scouts files and summaries obtained by The Oregonian.
Under Oregon’s flexible statute of limitations, victims of sexual abuse can bring cases once they’ve discovered how the abuse affected them, sometimes decades after the actual crimes.
In Oregon, the Boy Scouts faces at least four more pending civil cases involving allegations of child sex abuse.
The first criminal sex-abuse charges against Dykes came in 1983, when two boys told Portland police that the Scout leader molested them. Dykes pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree sexual abuse and was sentenced to probation.
The lawsuits contend that the Mormon church discovered in the early 1980s that Dykes had molested a Scout but failed to thoroughly investigate and question Dykes, failed to report abuse to law enforcement, failed to provide mental health services to victims and failed to remove Dykes from contact with children.
“We believe that the Mormon church and the Boy Scouts allowed Timur Dykes to stay in contact with children for years after his first arrest and conviction for child sex abuse,” said plaintiff attorney Kelly Clark.
But Steve English, attorney for the Mormon church, said the two new alleged victims were never members of the church and that Dykes had been expelled from the church nearly a decade before the alleged abuse in the late 1980s.
The Boy Scouts Cascade Pacific Council declined to comment on the case.
Dykes has been a source of legal troubles for the Boy Scouts before. Three lawsuits alleging abuse filed in 1987 resulted in undisclosed settlements. The mother of one of Dykes’ earliest alleged victims told The Oregonian in 1995 that abuse of her son contributed to his suicide.
Peter Zuckerman: 503-294-5919; peterzuckerman@ news.oregonian.com