SAVANNAH, GA (WSAV-TV) – New allegations of sexual abuse are targeting the coastal Georgia council of the Boy Scouts of America. For the second time in three years, a victim is suing under the hidden predator act and he is the second victim that has come out claiming he was molested by former troop leader Richard Merrey Jr.
Merrey was convicted in 2011 and sentenced 52 years on charges including sexual assault and molestation. The thirty-page suit is the second claiming leaders of the coastal branch of the boy scouts turned a blind eye to his actions.
“The boy scouts simply failed to deploy the rules that they should have in order to protect children against these predators,” says prosecutor Mark Tate.
Tate, alongside Atlanta based lawyers, is prosecuting the 2013 lawsuit against the boy scouts that was filed by one of Richard Merrey’s alleged victims. The latest suit, filed this week by Atlanta attorneys Roderick Edmond and William Atkins, focuses on the years 2006-2011. The victim claims he was abused by the troop 691 leader at various troop events.
“I think it is pretty clear that Richard Merrey got a hold of a lot more people than those who just filed lawsuits,” Tate adds.
The Boy Scouts of America released a statement to News 3 saying:
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.
The victim claims existing guidelines were violated on multiple occasions.
“With regard to Richard Merrey, essentially all of those rules that they have in place or try to safeguard the children who are entrusted to the boy scouts they violated all of those which is clearly alleged in the complaint,” says Tate who is entering his 3rd year of representing an alleged victim.
Tate believes this latest case only adds fuel to the fire against the BSA. The initial complaint goes into deep detail of the victim's testimony surrounding the dozens of events where he claims to have been sexually abused by Merrey. The prosecution now is claiming the scouts violated its policies on eight counts ranging from neglect, failure to properly screen Merrey, and failure to warn and protect the scout member.
“They really try to defend with all of their might for as long as they can until they become custom to the fact that they can’t get away,” says Tate.
Both lawsuits are requesting a trial by jury, the first one has failed to make it that far. News 3 will follow this case and keep you up to date on the latest happenings.