PORTLAND, Ore. — Jurors yesterday found the Boy Scouts of America negligent and awarded $1.4 million to a former Portland man who was abused by an assistant scoutmaster in the early 1980s, following a three-week trial in which secret Scout “perversion files’’ were used as evidence.
The jury also decided the Scouts organization, based in Irving, Texas, was liable for punitive damages that will be decided in a separate phase of the trial, in addition to the $1.4 million.
The Scouts denied allegations of negligence and said the files actually helped them keep child molesters out of their ranks.
Lawyers for the 38-year-old victim who filed the lawsuit, argued that the Boy Scouts organization was reckless for allowing former assistant scoutmaster Timur Dykes to continue to associate with the victim’s Scout troop after Dykes acknowledged to a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints early in 1983 that he had molested 17 Boy Scouts.
The church was the charter organization for an estimated third to one half of the Boy Scout troops in the nation in the 1980s.
The church settled its portion of the Portland case before trial, but the jury ordered it to pay 25 percent of the $1.4 million in noneconomic damages, or $350,000. The Boy Scouts of America must pay 60 percent, or $840,000, while its Cascade Pacific Council must pay 15 percent, or $210,000.
Dykes was later convicted three times of various abuse charges involving boys and served time in prison. Shortly before trial, he admitted in a deposition to abusing the victim in the lawsuit.
The case is set to resume April 20 and involves only the national Boy Scouts after the jury decided the Cascade Pacific Council was not liable for punitive damages.