New lawsuit claims Boy Scouts ignored abuse allegations

(WSAV) — He was supposed to be teaching young boys life lessons, but instead he was abusing them.

As a former Boy Scout leader sits in prison, one of his victims is coming out and speaking out about why he is suing the national organization for letting it happen.

“It wasn’t some random person,” explained James Doe.

It was a friend, the man known only as “James Doe” says.

He was just 12 in 2009 when he joined the Boy Scouts in Guyton, Georgia and met Richard Merrey, a volunteer adult leader and the man who later would sexually abuse him.

Richard Merrey is spending 52 years in military prison for child sexual abuse
Richard Merrey is spending 52 years in military prison for child sexual abuse

“It was a man who embedded himself in my life and created friendships with my parents and friendships with the entire community with this intention, I’m sure.” said Doe.

The suit James Doe describes how he was “groomed” by Merrey, making himself a “father figure”.

That is until he stepped it up to sexually themed texts and exchanging naked pictures of each other.

Then in 2010, according to the lawsuit, Merrey took Doe into his room during another scouting trip, pulled down his pants, fondled him and performed oral sex on the boy, who was only 14 years old.

Then Merrey asked the boy to have anal sex, but the teen begged him to stop and was able to leave the room.

“It gives those thoughts to you, like … ‘Well, you can’t tell anybody, because we’ll both get in trouble …’ “He said that to you …” “Yeah, it’s very common … almost making you feel like an equal … like we’re in it together … which is not the truth … one of us is an adult, and the other’s a child.”

The suit continues to say the Boy Scouts of America were notified about Merrey, even given evidence that he sent 100 texts to another Ohio boy he met on Facebook.

But they did “not” contact that boy’s mother, and did “nothing” to investigate Merrey’s conduct or dismiss him from scouting activities.

“The best way I can describe it is, you know, I now have to deal with the consequences of someone else’s actions for the rest of my life. I will be – and am learning new ways in my life that it affects me, almost day to day … due to the action I had no choice in, that someone made for me, and now I have to deal with that for the rest of my life.”

Merrey was arrested in 2011, charged with sexually abusing several children from 2006-2011, including James Doe.

In 2011 he was found guilty by a military court and sentenced to 52 years in prison.

The suit names the Boy Scouts of America as defendants and asks for a jury trial and punitive damages for mental and physical pain, past and future lost salary.

See the Full lawsuit HERE: James Doe Lawsuit

In a statement, the Boy Scouts say:

Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members and we are saddened when anyone uses their position to harm children. The Boy Scouts of America extends its deepest sympathies to any person who has been hurt by child sexual abuse.

While we can’t comment further on the specifics of pending litigation, I can tell you that this individual was removed from Scouting in 2011 and has been barred from future participation in our programs. The BSA seeks to prevent child abuse through a comprehensive program of education on the subject, the chartered organization leader selection process, criminal background and other checks, policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.

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