A 50-year-old Portland-area man filed a $5 million lawsuit Thursday against the Boy Scouts of America, alleging he was sexually abused by his former scoutmaster.
The lawsuit also names the Cascade Pacific Council, the scouting organization in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.
The suit claims the man, who goes by John Doe, was assaulted for several months in 1981 by his scoutmaster, Charles Shattuck, a convicted sex offender.
“Oregon is one of a handful of states that has probably the most progressive statute of limitations in the United States for sexual abuse,” said Paul Mones, the attorney representing the alleged victim.
Mones said Oregon law allows people up to 40 years old to file a lawsuit in sexual abuse cases. Victims who are older have five years to file a lawsuit from the time they realize connection between the abuse and their trauma.
Most states have a more restrictive statutes of limitations, making a suit like this very difficult, or even impossible, Mones said.
“In Oregon you will see cases, against the [Catholic] Church and the Boy Scouts that you won’t see in most states,” Mones said. “So for instance, Oregon is one of the few states where there are news stories coming out about victims of abuse that you won’t see in 90 percent of the country.”
Mones said his client was a member of Troop 685 in Beaverton. The troop met at Fir Grove Elemenary School.
The lawsuit states that Shattuck tried to proposition Mones’ client for sex, including sex with Shattuck’s wife. Schattuck allegedly fondled and engaged in oral sex with the boy. In 1986, a grand jury in Washington County indicted Shattuck for sexually abusing minors, the lawsuit states. He later pleaded guilty.
“What stands out in this case is this boy — man now — was an Eagle Scout, which is really the highest rank [for] a scout to obtain,” Mones said. “He was still so devoted to scouting he continued on to get his Eagle Scout even though he had been abused.”
In the lawsuit, it states the plaintiff has suffered injury, pain, emotional trauma and “permanent psychological damages.”
In a statement, the Cascade Pacific Council said it can’t comment on the specifics of the lawsuit.
“The allegations included in this lawsuit run counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands,” said Matt Devore, CEO of the Cascade Pacific Council. “We regret that there have been times when Scouts were abused and we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families.”