The Boy Scouts of America has been slapped with a court suit over allegations of sexual abuse that it deliberately covered up. The complaint was raised up by two men who used to be former Minnesota boy scouts.
The two men were identified as David Lundquist and Steven Josephson. They grew up on the East Side of St. Paul. They claimed the abuses happened when Lundquist was 11 and Josephson was between 12 and 15 years old.
Lundquist said the incident occurred in August 1970 when his scoutmaster, identified as Richard Swendiman, took him on a camping trip into the woods. Swendiman then asked him to go swimming. The older scout stripped off his shorts and ordered him to do the same, Lundquist said.
Recalling the term “initiation,” Lundquist said Swendiman tickled, spanked and fondled him. He was told the initiation was needed to teach him how to keep a secret.
According to the organization’s account, investigations that time confirmed Swendiman did conduct the same thing to others assigned under his care. But no disciplinary actions were meted. The BSA, according to a report by the Duluth News Tribune, just terminated his services and placed his file under secret, “like those of others accused of sexual misconduct.”
Jeff Anderson, the complainants’ attorney, said the two men are suing the organization because they want it to disclose and expose all “perversion files to the public and to the leaders on the ground who need to know, so kids can be protected.”
An Oregon court three years ago ordered BSA to release the contents of the file it had on Swendiman. Lundquist and Josephson want the organization to come clean of some 30 years’ worth of additional files that remain confidential.
Those who have been found to have engaged in sexual misconduct had files marked “ineligible volunteer.” Some were marked “perversion files.” In all, everything was treated confidential “solely to keep out individuals whose actions are inconsistent with the standards of Scouting,” Deron Smith, the BSA national spokesman, said in a statement.
“Scouts are safer because the files exist,” he added.
Lundquist and Josephson claimed the BSA purposely covered up the sexual assaults its Scout leaders committed and didn’t tell parents the organization had a problem. They added even the staff weren’t trained to look for warning signs.
“They knew or should have known that there was a specific danger of child sexual abuse for children participating in Scouting programs,” the complaints said.