Man sues Boy Scouts, alleges sexual abuse in Ohio

CINCINNATI - An Arizona man who alleges he was sexually abused by his Boy Scout leader on a vacation to southwest Ohio years ago has filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, accusing the organization of negligence and fraud.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Lebanon, alleges 24-year-old Thomas Abner's scout leader abused him on a trip with the boy and his family to the Warren County area north of Cincinnati when Abner was about 11.

The lawsuit alleges that former scout leader, Steven Woodard, sexually abused the former Indiana resident multiple times in Warren County and other locations.

Woodard, who was convicted in 2002 of molesting three brothers, two of whom had been members of Woodard's scout troop in Delaware County, died in 2005.

The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who allege they were sexually abused, but Abner's lawyer, Konrad Kircher, said his client agreed to go public with the allegations.

The Boy Scouts "knew or should have known that Woodard was spending substantial time alone" with Abner and his family outside of scouting, the suit said. It also alleges the organization "negligently failed to discipline Woodard" or warn Abner and his mother of the "risk of molestation."

The lawsuit said Abner and his family would not have allowed Woodard into their lives if the Boy Scouts had not failed to disclose "that scout leaders had posed a known danger to scouts for over eight decades."

Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Irving, Texas-based organization, said in an email that Boy Scouts of America officials hadn't seen the lawsuit, but "deeply regret that there have been times when scouts were abused, and for that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to the victims."

The email said, "Any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable."

Kircher said the lawsuit was filed now because "it takes a long time for a childhood sexual abuse survivor to get the courage to come forward and admit to the humiliating acts that were done."

The lawsuit said Abner suffered severe emotional injuries and will continue to suffer, including lost earning capability and medical expenses. The lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 in compensatory damages.

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