A former Boy Scout is suing the Boy Scouts of America for sexual abuse he says the organization allowed to happen, according to Channel 2 Action News.
The now 19-year-old former scout, who did not want to be identified, told the station Monday that the organization let him down when it did nothing to prevent a scout leader from sexually abusing him.
The boy’s mother found sexually suggestive text messages from Assistant Scoutmaster Richard Merrey to her then 12-year-old son when he was a Boy Scout in Savannah, but the organization did nothing, according to Channel 2.
“It took a huge part of my life away,” the victim told the news station. “It didn’t have to happen.”
The victim has since filed a lawsuit against The Boy Scouts and the Coastal Georgia Council after Merrey pleaded guilty to sexually abusing him and six other teens, Channel 2 said, and not all of them were Boy Scouts.
“They need to basically fix this so that no other child is victimized under their watch again,” attorney Rod Edmond told the news station.
The Boy Scouts organization never did a background check on Merrey and didn’t make sure guidelines to prevent abuse were followed.
“No child is supposed to be in a tent with another adult,” attorney Bill Atkins said, yet Merrey was left alone in a tent and abused the victim.
According to Channel 2, the Boy Scouts sent a statement saying it couldn’t comment on pending litigation, but noted that Merrey was removed from scouting in 2011 and barred from participating in future programs.
“They have an opportunity to be proactive and they had an opportunity to protect me and people like me, and they didn’t,” the 19-year-old told Channel 2. “It’s very obvious it’s an issue and I hope that this can shed light on that.”
Merrey is currently behind bars serving a 52-year sentence.