Boy Scout groups accused of failing to stop sex abuse
BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — Six former scouts have sued the Boy Scouts of America and its New Hampshire division, alleging that the groups failed to protect them from sexual abuse by an ex-scoutmaster who was sentenced to prison last year for assaulting scouts decades ago.
The Rockingham Superior Court lawsuit filed last week alleges that the organizations were aware of reports of prior allegations against Eugene Perreault, yet they didn’t properly supervise or investigate him.
Perreault pleaded guilty last year to sexually assaulting four scouts in the 1990s and early 2000s. He received a 12-to-30-year sentence. The plaintiffs, each listed as “John Doe” followed by initials, allege abuse during the same period. They seek unspecified damages.
Daniel Webster Council President Steve Curry said in a statement the behavior outlined in the allegations is “abhorrent.”
“While the passage of time does nothing to diminish the seriousness of these allegations, we want to emphasize that the safety and well-being of our members is the top priority,” the statement said. “The Daniel Webster Council has adopted a strict protocol that includes a comprehensive set of background checks and procedures to ensure the safety of our members.”
Police said Perreault was a scoutmaster from the 1990s through 2006 in Epping and Newfields. He was arrested in 2016 after two victims told Newfields police he molested them while they were scouts.
The lawsuit said Perreault invited the plaintiffs and other scouts over to his home to participate in scouting activities, where he formed a close relationship with them and eventually sexually abused them.
Across the U.S., lawyers are recruiting clients to join in sex-abuse lawsuits against Boy Scouts as states have moved to ease statute-of-limitations laws. New York enacted a law earlier this year creating a window for victims of long-ago abuse to file such suits, and several other states are considering such measures.