Ramsey Co. commissioner sues Boy Scouts for alleged sexual abuse


The chairman of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners has filed a civil lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, claiming he was sexually abused by an adult scout leader when he was between the ages of 12 and 16.

Jim McDonough, who filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court, alleges he was abused from 1967-1971 by his adult scoutmaster Leland "Lee" Opalinski, who died in May 2014.

"This predator stole four years of my life. I lost another 15 years to self-destructive behavior," McDonough said in a news release. "For years, this was my shame. It's no longer my shame – it's the Boy Scouts' shame."

McDonough is filing his lawsuit under the Child Victim's Act passed in 2013, which gives adult survivors of child sexual abuse until May 24, 2016, to file a civil lawsuit for past abuse.

The lawsuit alleges several counts of negligence and fraud against the Boy Scouts of America and the Northern Star Council (both of which are named as defendants in the lawsuit), claiming the Boy Scouts failed to adequately respond to an institution-wide sexual abuse epidemic within scouting.

McDonough also claims the Boy Scouts had "perversion files" on alleged pedophiles and allowed some of them to continue as scout leaders. McDonough wants the Boy Scouts to release those files.

Some of those "perversion files" were made public in 2012 under an Oregon court order, City Pages notes. Twenty-three people from Minnesota were named in the files released, FOX 9 reported in 2012, including Opalinkski.

Public files on Opalinkski show in 1971 he pleaded guilty to "indecent liberties" with a 14-year-old boy, the Pioneer Press reports.

Abuse victims are allowed to file lawsuits under pseudonyms to protect their privacy, but McDonough decided to go public with his story, the news release notes.

The Boy Scouts of America and the Northern Star Council have not commented on the lawsuit, reports note.

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