Seventeen men and two women are suing the Boy Scouts of America and local chapters in Connecticut, saying a now-dead scoutmaster sexually abused them as children in the 1960s and 1970s.
With 19 plaintiffs, this is believed to be the largest number of victims that have ever sued the Boy Scouts under one claim and the 857-page lawsuit alleges that some of the accusers were assaulted hundreds of times.
The suit, filed in state court in Stamford last month, claims Boy Scout leaders knew or should have known that Ridgefield Scoutmaster Donald Dennis was a danger to the scouts and didn't protect them. Dennis died two years ago.
Attorney Brooke Goff, who represents the plaintiffs, said one of them was molested more than 1,000 times and the two women who were involved in filing the suit said they were forced to watch the abuse.
“Don was an opportunist, so wherever he had an opportunity," Goff said. "He didn't have any boundaries. He would take boys to the back woods at these campouts and he would molest them in the woods. He would shower with the boys and molest them in the shower."
Named in the lawsuit are the national Boy Scouts organization, the Fairfield County Council and the Connecticut Yankee Council.
The Boy Scouts of America said on Tuesday it was only made aware of the allegations last month. It extended its sympathies to anyone affected by child sexual abuse.
"We were only made aware of these allegations last month and had never before received any reports or accusations against this individual by youth members, parents or adult volunteer leaders," the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement.