TAMPA — The Boy Scouts of America is once again being accused of concealing the sexual abuse of children and protecting the offending Scout leaders.
This time, an 18-year-old man has filed suit in Hillsborough County Civil Court against the Texas corporation and the local Gulf Ridge Council claiming the organizations were negligent and vicariously liable. The plaintiff, identified as John Doe, was one of the two boys who came forward in 2002 about being sexually abused by Scout leader Shane Czetli.
Czetli, 47, pleaded guilty in 2003 to sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation and still has 30 years remaining on his prison sentence, according to Corrections Department records.
The suit alleges the Boy Scouts knew Czetli, an unmarried assistant scoutmaster, was engaging in the inappropriate acts and did nothing to prevent it or warn the families.
When the Times originally reported Czetli's arrest in 2002, authorities said the victims were not Scouts.
Adam Horowitz, an attorney for the plaintiff, said his client was in the Cub Scouts for two years.
"One of the things that resulted from this incident is his parents became extremely protective and didn't trust adults that run extracurricular activities and he was also very wary himself."
The plaintiff hasn't participated in any other organized activities associated with youth. He's also experienced suicidal thoughts, alcohol abuse, nightmares, depression, anxiety, sexual problems and anger management problems, according to the lawsuit.
Paul Mones, who won a $20 million sex abuse suit against the Boy Scouts in Oregon last year, has also signed on to represent the plaintiff. Like the Oregon case, this suit contends the organization maintained "red flag" files on volunteers with pedophilic tendencies but did not disclose the information to parents.
"Unfortunately, pedophiles swarmed to join the Boy Scouts because it gave them access to children and put them in a position of authority," Horowitz said.
Horowitz said his client brought the suit nine years after the abuse because his parents allowed him to choose for himself when he became an adult.
"John Doe has or will suffer a permanent and total disability in the areas of trust, intimacy and self-esteem," the suit said. "Indeed, these are classic symptoms of survivors of childhood sexual abuse."
Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at email@example.com.