By John Nickerson, Stamford Advocate, STAMFORD, CT (October 25, 2018) — Another former Boy Scout has filed a lawsuit against the organization, claiming a scoutmaster sexually assaulted him about 25 years ago.
Attorney Paul Slager has filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America’s state organization, the Connecticut Yankee Council, on behalf of a man who was a member of Stamford’s Troop 47 during the late 1980s and early ‘90s.
Slager declined to comment on the lawsuit. Scout Executive Charles Flowers did not return calls for comment. Tadhg Dooley, the attorney representing the organization, also did not return calls and emails for comment.
According to the lawsuit, Scoutmaster Gunnar Hartzsch recruited the boy to switch to his Troop 47 from Troop 48.
Hartzsch purchased camping supplies and uniforms for the boy and also paid for his camping trips to “cultivate and groom” him, the lawsuit stated. Hartzsch also approved the boy’s merit badges even though he did not complete all of the requirements, the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit claims Hartzsch was the only adult at events and meetings, which violated Youth Protection Guidelines. Hartzsch often “sexually assault and battered” the boy when they were alone after the meetings, according to the lawsuit. The sexual assaults occurred over a five-year span when boy was between 12 and 17 years old, the lawsuit said.
The abuse caused the victim to suffer permanent physical injury, invasion and damages as well as extensive emotional and psychological injuries, according to the lawsuit.
The victim is seeking punitive damage against the Boy Scouts of America for it’s “willful, wanton and reckless conduct,” the lawsuit said.
For more than 50 years before the victim joined the Boy Scouts, the organization was aware of hundreds of nationwide instances of sexual misconduct by troop leaders, according to the suit.
The organization even maintained documents known as the “Perversion Files,” or the “Confidential Files” that included information on suspected instances of child abuse as well as other alleged sexual misconduct during Boy Scout activities, the suit says. Hartzsch’s name, however, does not appear on the list.
But the suit says the existence of the list led to changes in policy to protect the scouts, but were not followed while the boy was a member of Troop 47.
Connecticut law allows victims to file a lawsuit 30 years after their 18th birthday or five years after they notify law enforcement or a prosecutor of the sexual assault.