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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boy Scout Awarded $1.4 Million in Sex Abuse Case

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Lewis, right, and attorney Kelly Clark, outside the courtroom this morning.
  • Lewis, right, and attorney Kelly Clark, outside the courtroom this morning.
I'm here on the fifth floor of Multnomah County courthouse, in the courtroom of Judge John Wittmayer. The room was packed with reporters and onlookers as the jury filed back into the room this morning to announce their decision in the first phase of a landmark sex abuse case against the Boy Scouts and Mormon church.

The jury decided to award $1.4 million in emotional damages to 38-year-old former scout Kerry Lewis, who was sexually abused by his former Assistant Scoutmaster, Timur Dykes.

But the jury split the blame (and burden of payment) between the Texas-based Boy Scouts, the Portland-based Cascade Pacific Council and the Church of Latter Day Saints. The decision will hit the Boy Scouts for $840,000, the Cascade Pacific Council for $210,000 and the Latter Day Saints for $350,000, but it's only the first round of damages in Lewis' case.

In addition to the money paid out for emotional suffering, the jury also found the Boy Scouts liable for punitive damages for allowing Dykes to continue to associate with the troop after he had admitted to a Scout leader and also to a bishop that he molested 17 children.

The next round of the trial, which begins Tuesday, will decide whether the Scouts will have to pay Lewis and the state of Oregon up to $25 million for those punitive damages. News media pounced on Lewis as he exited the courtroom, but he and lawyer Kelly Clark offered up only, "No comment." Until the second phase of the trial concludes, they're not allowed to discuss the case.

Timur Dykes
  • Timur Dykes

Also at stake in this trial are stacks of documents that one person involved in Lewis' case referred to as "the Boy Scout's secret perversion files" in conversation with me earlier this week. Though the files were used in the case, Judge Wittmayer is waffling on whether the damaging documents should be made public. Originally expected to be released today after the close of the first phase of the trial, the judge has now decided that he will hear arguments from both sides on whether the perversion files should be kept sealed.

We'll be keeping track of the trial as it progresses, but for more background on the trial, check out the Oregonian's string of stories on the case.

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