A lawsuit has been filed by two former Boy Scouts against the Northeast Georgia Boy Scout Council, alleging childhood sexual abuse and other injuries.
The suit also names two Athens churches, Green Acres Baptist Church and Beech Haven Baptist Church, along with the estate of former Scout Leader Ernest Boland. The suit describes a systematic cover-up by all parties involved to conceal the identities of Scout leaders accused of sexually abusing Scouts for decades.
Boland died in 2013. Two former Boy Scouts are named in the lawsuit as plaintiffs, Alan McArthur and a second man identified only as "D.P."
Allegedly, according to the lawsuit, the two churches knew about Boland's pattern of abuse, but did nothing to prevent him from continuing.
“Beyond the two people in this suit, we want the Boy Scouts, the churches and institutions that are their chartering organizations, and the leaders they select, to focus on protecting our children rather than protecting those accused of sexual abuse,” said attorney Darren Penn.
Penn filed the lawsuit in Athens-Clarke County Superior Court.
Georgia's 'Mandatory Reporter Law' requires a range of professionals are required to report when a child under the age of 18 may have been sexually assaulted.
Penn's co-counsel on the case is Los Angeles-based Paul Mones. Mones has filed a number of similar sexual abuse cases in other states.
"Our clients hope that by coming forward, they will help give comfort and a voice to others who have been sexually abused and to let them know that they are not alone," Mones said.
The lawsuit is seeking the release of all information regarding sexual predators in accordance with the law. According to the lawsuit, the Boy Scouts of America began maintaining files on sexual molestation by adult volunteers within the organization as early as the 1920s, and continued at least into the 1980s.
Additionally, the suit seeks a change in policy around how Scout organizations handle information on sexual predators, as well as compensation for the affected individuals.
11Alive News reached out to the Northeast Georgia Boy Scout Council for a comment on this story, but by late Wednesday afternoon, we had not received word back from them.