H-SANTA BARBARA

Nov 17, 2010 10:06 PM by Ariel Wesler

Local teen sues Boy Scouts of America over sexual abuse policy

A former Boy Scout, who was sexually abused three years ago by his troop leader, filed a lawsuit today against the Boy Scouts of America.

The sexual abuse took place in 2007 at a Christmas tree lot in Goleta. In April 2008, troop leader Albert Stein was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse and later plead no contest to two of them. He was convicted in 2009 and is still serving time in prison.

Their motto is be prepared. Now, the youth organization known nationwide is preparing to face a civil lawsuit from one of it's former Boy Scouts. He was sexually abused at age 13 by his own troop leader.

"When a parent comes in and reports the abuse, more often than not they are discouraged from telling law enforcement and instead are encouraged to tell only the organization itself, which then conducts an internal investigation, which is completely inadequate," said Tim Hale, the attorney for the plaintiff.

The Boy Scouts of America denies discouraging parents or their kids from reporting instances of sexual abuse to law enforcement. In fact, they see themselves as a place where kids can feel safe and are protected.

"In early June, the Boy Scouts made youth protection training mandatory for all of its more than one million registered volunteers. We also reach all scouts and parents directly with an education pamphlet that is included in the front of every Cub Scout and Boy Scout handbook," said the organization in a statement to KSBY News.

"They say the right things. They claim to be putting forth these programs that are going to protect kids, but how hard they work to make sure those programs are enforced is highly questionable," Hale said.

The lawsuit claims for at least 50 years, the organization has secretly removed sex offenders at a rate of one perpetrator every two or three days.

"Though we cannot provide any additional information on the case at this time, the Boy Scouts of America is always reevaluating and reassessing its policies to provide the most secure environment possible for our youth members," the statement said.

The victim's lawyers say unless these covert policies are reversed, putting on a Boy Scout uniform is "basically putting a bullseye on your back."

Lawyers say Stein is expected to be released next month after serving three years in prison.

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