The Arizona man who sued the Boy Scouts of America claiming his scoutmaster sexually abused him on a trip to Kings Island received a “very fair” settlement, according to his attorney.
Thomas Abner, 26, sued the Boy Scouts in February 2013, claiming his former scoutmaster, Steven Woodard — who is now deceased — abused him at a local hotel during a family vacation to Kings Island in Mason. Abner’s attorney, Konrad Kircher, claimed Woodard abused Abner more than 300 times during a 3 1/2-year period.
Kircher alleged Woodard sexually abused him on Boy Scout-sponsored trips to Kings Island, Cedar Point and Grand Lake St. Mary’s State Park in Mercer and Auglaize counties in the mid- to late-1990s.
The BSA and Abner settled the case on Thursday; it was originally scheduled for a five-day trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court in November.
“There was a related case and we mediated both cases out in Phoenix on Thursday,” Kircher said. “The Boy Scouts were very fair about it, it was a good resolution for everybody I think. The amount is confidential, but again I think the Boy Scouts were very fair about it.”
Kircher was working with Oregon attorneys Kelly Clark and Paul Mones, who were the lead attorneys in the 2010 trial against the BSA that resulted in a $19.5 million verdict. That case also forced the public release of the Boy Scout’s internal “perversion” files on known pedophiles.
There are 1,892 names on that list that dates back to 1971, and 78 were from Ohio, including several from Cincinnati and one from Maineville in Warren County.
The BSA and its attorney did not respond to requests for a comment on the settlement. During the case Deron Smith, director of public relations for the BSA, said the organization has gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of Scouts.
“Any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable… We deeply regret that there have been times when Scouts were abused, and for that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims,” Smith said. “The BSA was one of the first youth programs to develop youth protection policies and education, and has continuously enhanced its multi-tiered policies and procedures, which now include background checks, comprehensive training programs, and safety policies, like requiring all members to report even suspicions of abuse directly to local law enforcement.”
The BSA maintained there was no jurisdiction in Warren County because the Boy Scouts organization is based out of Irving, Texas; the plaintiff is in Arizona and never lived in Ohio; and most of the alleged acts occurred in Abner’s home state of Indiana. They asked Judge James Flannery to dismiss the case on that basis but the judge kept the case alive.
Woodard pleaded guilty to three counts of child molestation in 2002 in Delaware County, Ind., and was sent to prison for seven years. He died in 2005.
By Denise G. Callahan - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services