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Richard MerreyThe Boys Scouts of America and the Coastal Georgia Council are under fire due to a new lawsuit filed by a former member James Doe (Pseudonym) who was sexually assaulted by former volunteer Assistant Scout Master Richard Merrey.

The lawsuit, filed against Boy Scouts of America, claims the organization didn’t do enough to protect the young boy from being abused by volunteer leader, Richard Merrey, in Effingham County.

In 2011, Merrey confessed and was found guilty of rape and other sexual behavior, and sentenced to 52 years by the military. He was also dishonorably discharged from the Navy.

The now 18-year-old victim – who is using an alias because he was a minor at the time – says the assistant scout master sexually abused him between the years of 2006 through 2011. They were a part of Troop 691.

The suit argues that the Boy Scouts failed to follow procedures that would have prevented the abuse, even saying the Boy Scouts Organization knew this was going on for years. The victim is seeking money for damages and demanding a jury trial.

According to the lawsuit, both the Boy Scouts of America and Coastal Georgia Council let Merrey remain a volunteer after learning he “presented a threat to the safety and well-being of children enrolled in the scouting program.”

One of the lawyers involved in case told media that that the executive for the local scout council had “received an internal memo alerting him that Merrey had been sending sexually themed texts to a young man he met on Facebook. [The executive] did not report Merrey to the police and took no meaningful steps to investigate his behavior; he just told him to stop and let him continue as a volunteer. Less than two months later, Merrey sexually abused James Doe on a scouting trip to North Carolina.”

Over the last five years, the public has learned that the Boy Scouts of America has long kept an extensive archive of secret documents that chronicle the history of child sexual abuse perpetrated by volunteer adult leaders as reported in the Washington Post. In 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the Scouts to make public–from 1959 through 1985–some of the so called “perversion files.” As the Los Angeles Times reported last year, the files revealed that “more than one third of abuse allegations never were reported to police.” Just last year, the Washington Post reported that the Boy Scouts settled a lawsuit in California to avoid having more recent perversion files made public. The revelations have led to other lawsuits filed across the country on behalf of victims of sexual abuse by adult volunteer leaders as reported in the Oregonian.

More information about Richard Merrey’s case can be found here:

If you have information about abuse by Richard Merrey please contact the Effingham County police department.

Also, if you would like advice from an attorney about the rights and options for victims of child sexual abuse, please contact Crew Janci LLP today for a free, confidential consultation at 1-888-407-0224 or by using our private online form.  We will treat you with discretion and respect.

You are not alone.  We are here to help.

Andria Seo

Andria Seo is an Associate Attorney at Crew Janci LLP. Andria is a graduate of the New York University School of Law. During law school, she worked with the National Center for Youth Law, the Legal Aid Society, and the NYCLU. Prior to joining the team at Crew Janci LLP, Andria advocated for vulnerable children and their families as a staff attorney at Partnership for Children’s Rights, a nonprofit based in New York City. Andria also previously worked assisting in the representation of victims of a terrorist attack in civil suits. Andria moved to Portland in 2016 and joined Crew Janci LLP in 2017. She is admitted to practice in Oregon and New York