Another Boy Scout Abuse Survivor Hears Call for Justice; Steps Forward, Files Suit
(Minneapolis, Minnesota—July 14, 2015) Three weeks after Ramsey County Commissioner and sexual abuse survivor Jim McDonough made an impassioned appeal for Boy Scout abuse survivors to come forward and seek justice, another victim has emerged. “John Doe 151” alleges abuse by the same Scout volunteer who abused McDonough, Leland “Lee” Opalinski.
According to the Complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court today, John Doe 151 was sexually abused when he was 12 to 16 years of age. The sexual abuse occurred from 1966 through 1971 during Scouting-related meeting, events, and outings in and around St. Paul, at the First Covenant Church in St. Paul, and at the Willow River Campground near Willow River, Minnesota. The sexual abuse occurred while Opalinski was a Scout Leader for Troop 12 in St. Paul.
“Tragically, we often see many children violated by the same perpetrator,” explained McDonough’s and Doe 151’s Minneapolis Attorney Patrick Noaker. Noaker has handled hundreds of survivor claims across the United States, including claims now pending against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Diocese of New Ulm, Diocese of Winona, EF Education First (exchange student program) and the Boy Scouts. “Sexual predators like Leland Opalinski rarely stop at one victim.”
“If my example coming forward has liberated even one child living his life in shame and self-blame, it’s all worth it,” said McDonough. “Doe 151 deserves answers, and he deserves justice.” McDonough, who does not know the identity of Doe 151, added, “We are united. We are brothers. We are joined in a cause to protect children and liberate the innocent. No abused child should live in shame, fear and self-blame. The shame is not ours; it is the Boy Scouts of America’s.”
According to the Boy Scouts’ Intelligible Volunteer File on Opalinski, he was arrested and charged with sodomy and “indecent liberties with minor children” in 1971. The then thirty-year-old volunteer plead guilty to “indecent liberties” with a 14-year-old boy. A judge sentenced him to seven years of probation. Opalinski died in May 2014.
Noaker, who has assembled a team of nationally recognized sexual abuse attorneys, says his attorneys want answers, not platitudes: “The Boy Scouts say nothing is more important than the safety of youth. They say they are profoundly saddened when anyone uses their position to harm a child. That’s all well and good, but platitudes don’t protect kids,” said Lee James, who teamed up with Noaker two years ago with abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Diocese of New Ulm, Diocese of Winona, EF Education First and the Boy Scouts. “How many Minnesota Ineligible Volunteer files are there? How many did the BSA destroy? Who are these potentially dangerous men? Where are they? What children are in their reach?”
Portland Attorneys Steve Crew and Peter Janci who participated in a $19.9 million verdict against the Boy Scouts of America, teamed-up with Noaker, James and Craig Vernon this year to represent Minnesota Boy Scout abuse survivors.
“We concluded that there were likely a hundred or more victims in Minnesota who may come forward and file claims before Minnesota’s deadline next year,” Janci explained, his firm having obtained and catalogued 1,292 BSA “perversion files”. Minnesota’s “Child Victim’s Act” gives adult survivors of child sexual abuse until May 24, 2016 to file a civil lawsuit for past abuse.
“No one attorney or firm can provide the strong legal support needed for this project,” explained 35 year veteran, Steve Crew. “So we sought out the best abuse lawyers we could find who have the character and commitment to work closely together for Jim, Doe 151 and all of our clients.”
BSA began tracking pedophiles soon after the organization formed in 1910. By January of 1935, BSA had accumulated approximately 1,000 pedophile files. Although some of the suspected pedophiles were excluded, some Scout Leaders accused of child sexual abuse were still allowed to continue as Scout Leaders under a secret internal BSA policy called “probation.”
In the 1970s BSA allegedly destroyed thousands of its files and regularly purged its pedophile rolls until it ceased the practice in the 1990s. The files from 1965-1985 that were not destroyed are publically available on the Crew Janci LLP website.
In 2012, The Los Angeles Times and Crew Janci LLP published online databases that together make available approximately 5,000 of the Perversion Files that were publically released through child sexual abuse lawsuits against the BSA. In Minnesota, there are 39 known “perversion files” dating from 1960 to 1991 that survived BSA’s purges; 37 deal with suspected child sexual abuse, and one involves an ambiguous report of sexual abuse. Noaker’s Team has posted the set of 37 Minnesota Perversion Files on the Noaker Law Firm website and the Crew Janci LLP website, along with commentary and analysis. There are files from troops/packs from all parts of Minnesota, including: Apple Valley, Bayport, Burnsville, Chisholm, Crystal, Duluth, Elgin, Hastings, Howard Lake, International Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Moorhead, Mounds View, Ogilvie, Rice, Rochester, St. Cloud, St. Paul, Vadnais Heights, Windom, and Winona.
Also see the List of 47 Minnesota Perversion Files that have not been made public on Noaker Law Firm websitefrom: Afton, Alexandria, Apple Valley, Bemidji, Blaine, Blue Earth, Brainard, Coon Rapids, Edina, Eagan, Elton Hills, Fairmont, Faribault, Fergus Falls, Forest Lake, Hawley, Kenyan, Mankato, Minneapolis, New Ulm, Oakdale, Rochester, Rushford, Sabin, Sauk Centre, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Sleepy Eye, Waseca, West St. Paul, Winona and Woodbury.
Read More: http://bringmethenews.com/2015/07/14/another-former-boy-scout-files-abuse-lawsuit-over-100-more-could-follow/
For more information, contact:
|Patrick Noaker, Esq.612-839-1080
|Stephen Crew, Esq.Peter Janci, Esq.
|Leander “Lee” James208-818-6775