2 former Minnesota Boy Scouts sue over alleged sexual abuse by leaders


Two more former Minnesota Boy Scouts have issued lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America, alleging they suffered sexual abuse at the hands of their scout leaders.

Lawsuits were filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court on behalf of Steven Josephson and David Lundquist.

KSTP reports they are accusing the BSA of creating a public nuisance and of failing to warn people about alleged pedophiles within its ranks. They are also calling for the release of 30 years' worth of confidential "perversion files" containing information on scout leaders accused of sexual abuse.

According to the Pioneer Press, Lundquist said he was abused by former scout leader Richard Swendiman while a member of Troop 216 in St. Paul, while Josephson said he was abused by convicted child molester Leland Opalinski while he was the leader of Troop 12, also in St. Paul.

Lundquist, 56 told the media Thursday that his experience caused "a pain that you carry with you for a long, long time," while Josephson, 59, said he was "tired of living in the shadows" of his abuse.

Opalinski, who died in 2014, has also been accused of molesting Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough when he was in the Boy Scouts. McDonough filed a lawsuit of his own against BSA and the Minnesota-based Northern Star Council of Scouting last month.

Bid to release confidential 'perversion files'

This latest lawsuit is the first time a public nuisance claim has been issued against the BSA, according to attorney Jeff Anderson, and it is intended to lead to the release of files kept by the BSA in the way that similar suits have forced the disclosure of priests accused of sexual abuse.

The Pioneer Press notes that a court ruling in Oregon in 2012 led to the release of more than 1,200 files featuring allegations made up to 1985, but "thousands" compiled since then remain under wraps.

"When a Scout leader abuses a child," Anderson told the Star Tribune, "the Scouts take that information and keep it in a file, and even if they remove the leader who offends, they keep that secret and the file secret in their headquarters in Texas.

"These suits seek to cause the Boy Scouts of America to come clean, to make children safe, by exposing and disclosing all the ‘perversion files’ to the public, to the people and to the leaders on the ground who need to know, so kids can be protected."

The Northern Star Council told the newspaper that keeping the files confidential is designed to "encourage prompt reporting and protect the identity of any victims," saying anyone accused of sexual abuse is now dismissed at the point of allegation, rather than waiting for proof.

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