Court OKs settlement in 44 Boy Scout abuse cases

LAWSUIT: The Boy Scouts of America building in Upper Tumon is shown. The Boy Scouts has settled 44 sex abuse lawsuits filed on Guam. Post file photo

The Boy Scouts of America banned from the scouting movement a priest accused of pedophilia who faces multiple sex-abuse cases in Guam, according to the head of the organization's Aloha Council.

The council, which has jurisdiction over the Boys Scouts' Guam chapter, was commenting on recent court cases filed in federal court against Louis Brouillard, a former Guam priest and former Boy Scouts troop master.

Lawsuits: Brouillard used local Boy Scouts chapter to prey on children

Fifteen claims of sexual abuse of children filed recently allege that Brouillard, while on Guam, used his position in the local Boy Scouts chapter to prey on young boys in the 1970s.

“The behavior included in these allegations is abhorrent and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands," said Jeff Sulzbach, chief executive officer of the Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council. "Upon learning of these reports, we took immediate action to preclude this individual from any further participation in the scouting program."

Though Sulzbach couldn't say when exactly the Boy Scouts became aware of the reports of Brouillard's sexual abuse of children on Guam, he said it was possible the organization didn't take action against the priest until sometime after the 1970s.

"Between 1968 and 1974, the Boy Scouts of Guam operated under their own council," Sulzbach said. "In 1974, the Guam chapter came under the jurisdiction of the Aloha Council."

According to BishopAccountability.org, Brouillard served on Guam from 1948 to 1981 at various parishes around the island.

Forced to swim naked to earn merit badge

Those who have accused Brouillard say he abused boys both at his homes and during hiking and camping outings as part of activities with the Guam Boy Scouts.

In the most recent case filed, Morgan Paul states Brouillard used the guise of awarding merit badges to the boys to force him and others to swim naked.

The lawsuit states Paul felt like an outcast and feared he might not earn his merit badges if he did not cooperate with Brouillard, so he felt pressured to swim naked. In order to earn the swimming merit badge, Paul was required to float and tread water for 15 minutes. He claims he would be taken to the deep side of the river and as he floated, Brouillard would grope at his private part and fondle him. Paul said he tried to resist, but Brouillard kept grabbing at him.

Scouts CEO: More is being done now to protect kids

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members and we are profoundly saddened when anyone uses their position to harm children," Sulzbach said. "The Boy Scouts of America extends its deepest sympathies to any person who has been hurt by child sexual abuse. Any instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable.”

Sulzbach added that increased safety measures taken by the Boy Scouts of America include a comprehensive program of education on the subject, the chartered organization leader selection process, criminal background and other checks, policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.

Lujan says he does plan to sue the Boy Scouts

Brouillard admitted to abusing boys during his time on Guam in a letter and video statement released in October 2016 and said that others in the church, including Archbishop Apollinaris Baumgartner, knew about the abuse, but only told Brouillard to give penance and pray.

David Lujan, the attorney who represents the plaintiffs in all the cases against Brouillard and the Archdiocese of Agana, said he does intend to sue the Boy Scouts of America. Sulzbach said he hadn't heard of any Guam cases against the Boy Scouts.

While no Guam lawsuits are yet known of, the Boy Scouts of America hasn't been immune to suits about sexual abuse of children.

According to the Los Angeles Times, such cases have even resulted in settlements as recently as 2010 when a plaintiff, Oregon resident Kerry Lewis, won a $20 million jury verdict against the Boy Scouts of America for abuse that occurred in the 1980s.

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