CHICAGO — An Illinois man who more than 27 years ago was identified as a victim of a notorious Burbank, Ill., pedophile filed suit Tuesday against his alleged abuser as well as the Boy Scouts for failing to protect him.
The man, who filed the lawsuit anonymously in Cook County Circuit Court, had "compartmentalized" his memories of the sexual abuse, which allegedly happened on numerous occasions in 1985 when he was a 10-year-old Boy Scout, said Christopher Hurley, his attorney.
Memories of the abuse only resurfaced when the Boy Scouts of American in October released their long-secret "perversion files" under the orders of an Oregon court overseeing a civil case against the organization. The man, who is now married with a family, looked online through the files for his former Scout leader Thomas Hacker, Hurley said.
Hacker, now 76, is serving a 100-year prison sentence for sexually abusing boys. The father of three was able to keep working as a Scout leader of a troop that served the Burbank and Oak Lawn area despite being convicted of sex crimes against youths in Indianapolis in 1970 and Mount Prospect in 1971.
"He was very shrewd," said retired Cook County assistant state's attorney Jim McCarter, who prosecuted the criminal case. Hacker used his Boy Scouts post to work with children, looking for kids who might be vulnerable, McCarter said.
The Boy Scouts declined to comment, issuing a statement saying they had not yet seen the lawsuit.
"We deeply regret that there have been times when Scouts were abused, and for that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims," the statement said.