Three Portland men sued the Boy Scouts of America and the local Cascade Pacific Council today for knowingly hiring a man who had previously given alcohol to scouts and had sexually abused a boy in California.
The men, identified as PW, RM and MJ in the complaint, say they were sexually abused as children between 1974 and 1976 by a scout leader named Calvin Malone who was shuffled between boy scout chapters following repeated allegations of sexual abuse and other improper behavior. They were 10, 11 and 13 when Malone allegedly abused them.
The suit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, alleges that the organizations had a file on Malone that indicated he had given drugs and alcohol to scouts in California and abused at least one boy there. The Boy Scouts created a confidential internal file on Malone that should have barred him from volunteering or working for the organization in the future, the suit alleges. The Portland Boy Scout chapter hired him on as a scout leader anyway.
The men are seeking $21 million in damages.
The three men are represented by local law firm Crew Janci LLP. That firm previously represented two other plaintiffs who alleged Malone abused them.
"The Boy Scouts of America is outraged there have been times when Scouts were abused and we sincerely apologize to victims and their families," Matthew Devore, Scout Executive and CEO of the Cascade Pacific Council said in a statement. "The behavior included in these allegations is abhorrent and runs counter to everything for which the BSA stands. Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members. In the many years since these alleged actions occurred, we have continued to strengthen our efforts to protect youth."
Malone went to another Boy Scout chapter after the allegations of abuse in Portland surfaced. Four men in Montana also sued the Boy Scouts for alleged abuse at Malone's hands after he was allowed to become a scout leader there after leaving Portland.
Because of his longtime involvement in the Boy Scouts, Malone positioned himself as a credible youth organizer for years. He is also alleged to have abused boys in Washington and Alabama.
"The tragedy of the Calvin Malone story is that this man was allowed to continue on in the eyes of the boys as a trusted leader," says attorney Peter Janci, who is representing the three Portland plaintiffs. "There is a very far reaching wake of destruction by this man."
Janci says the cases against Malone have slowly surfaced over the years in part because the Boy Scouts of America keeps its internal files secret—though his law firm has managed to obtain some of those documents through the courts.
"We've had to fight them every step of the way," he says.
Malone was convicted of child rape and molestation in 1993. His incarceration was extended in 2014 by involuntary civil confinement in Washington's McNeil Corrections Center, sometimes called "Sex Offender Island."