Talks aim to settle sex abuse lawsuit

$25 million - Six men have filed against the Boy Scouts and the Mormon church

The Oregonian/June 11, 2008

Six Portland men agreed to enter talks this week to settle their $25 million lawsuit against the Mormon church and the Boy Scouts of America over alleged sexual abuse.

The lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Portland contends that in the 1980s and 1990s Timur Van Dykes molested Boy Scouts in Troop 719, which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supervised. Since 1983, Dykes, 51, has been convicted of at least 26 sex crimes.

"The amazing thing about this case is the extent to which these institutions continued to allow him access to kids, even after he had acknowledged sexually abusing boys and, indeed, after he had been convicted for doing so," said Portland attorney Kelly Clark, who represents the plaintiffs.

Attorney Steve English, who represents the Mormon Church, said that perspective is inaccurate.

"The church worked cooperatively with the Portland police, who learned of this abuse before the church did, and the church suspended Mr. Dykes' privileges as a church member within two weeks of learning of this abuse," English said.

The Cascade Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Portland did not return phone calls.

Dykes, who lives in Southwest Portland, is one of about 50 Oregon leaders expelled by the Boy Scouts for sex abuse between 1970 and 1990, according to confidential Boy Scout files obtained by The Oregonian. The number of Boy Scout leaders ejected in Oregon eclipses the number of abusive priests identified statewide in the recent Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal.

Under Oregon's flexible statute of limitations, victims of sexual abuse can bring cases once they've discovered how the abuse affected them, sometimes decades after the actual crimes.

Dykes has been a source of legal troubles for the Boy Scouts before. Three lawsuits alleging abuse filed in 1987 resulted in undisclosed settlements. The mother of one of Dykes' earliest alleged victims told The Oregonian in 1995 that abuse of her son contributed to his suicide.

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