New claims in Boy Scout sex suit

Man suing organization, claiming sex abuse in parking lot of Ohio amusement park.
MCT Regional News
Jul 16, 2013
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The Arizona man who has sued the Boy Scouts of America in Warren County over alleged sexual abuse now says his Scoutmaster abused him in the parking lot at Kings Island during a Boy Scout-sponsored trip.

Thomas Abner, 25, sued the Boy Scouts in February, claiming his former Scoutmaster Steven Woodard — who is now deceased — abused him at a local hotel during a family vacation to Kings Island. Abner’s attorney, Konrad Kircher, claimed Woodard abused Abner more than 300 times during a three-and-a-half year period.

The Boy Scouts filed a motion to dismiss the case in May. The motion claimed there is 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.

“This case has an extremely random, tenuous, fortuitous connection to the state of Ohio,” attorney Carolyn Taggart wrote. “Neither of the parties reside in Ohio currently, or were alleged to have resided here at the time of the events alleged in the complaint. Plaintiff does not allege the perpetrator was a resident of Ohio. Nor does the plaintiff allege that the Kings Island trip was part of any scouting activity.”

Abner’s amended complaint, filed July 11, alleges 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 Boy Scouts had a legitimate point, that if there was only one family trip to Ohio, that’s not enough contact with the state of Ohio for the Boy Scouts to be implicated…,” Kircher said. “Now that we’ve identified three Boy Scout sanctioned and organized trips to Ohio, the Boy Scouts are implicated because they were responsible for those trips and for the conduct of their scout masters on those trips.”

Taggart said she couldn’t comment on the latest development, but said it is “likely” a motion to dismiss the amended complaint will be forthcoming.

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.

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By Denise G. Callahan - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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