A jury in Portland, Oregon on Friday ordered the Boy Scouts of America to pay 18.5 million dollars in punitive damages to a man who was abused by a Scout leader in the 1980s, local media reported.
The verdict was part of the punitive damages segment of the trial, as the jury in the northwestern US city earlier awarded victim — which The Oregonian newspaper identified as Kerry Lewis, now 38 — one million dollars for the pain and suffering.
Lewis said during the trial that he was abused five times when he was between 11 and 12 years old by his then-scoutmaster in Portland, and that the experience led him to drug addiction and difficulty in establishing intimate relationships.
The alleged abuser, Timur Dykes, now 53, admitted after the incidents that he was a serial molester. He has been convicted three times for sex abuse against boys.
The trial is unique in that it has forced the Boy Scouts, which celebrates its centennial this year, to submit to the court for the first time in 20 years documents detailing sexual abuse recorded by the organization.
Although the group has been sued dozens of times over sex abuse, most cases settled out of court, which ensured the records were kept confidential.
Lewis’s lawyer, Kelly Clark, wrote on his website, www.boyscoutabuse.com, that victims may feel “an added sense of guilt about bringing legal action against an organization that many view in a positive light, one that no doubt has helped many boys, and, indeed, an organization that stresses ‘loyalty’ as one of its core values.”
By Oregon law, 60 percent of the verdict goes to the state’s crime victim’s compensation fund, The Oregonian reported.