Scouts' defense tactics called aggressive

Dec. 25, 2012 at 1:42 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- The Boy Scouts of America's legal tactics in defending itself against molestation accusations include blaming parents, some families and lawyers say.

The Los Angeles Times Tuesday cited a pending case in Michigan in which attorneys for the organization denied responsibility for the abuse two young brothers, allegedly at the hands of a troop leader, and instead suggested in court papers the boys' mother failed to provide adequate parental supervision.

"The day their dad died, the perpetrator began to befriend the boys," the family's attorney, Kelly Clark, said. "Then the Boy Scouts turn around and file papers saying Mom was the problem?"

Timothy Hale, who represented a California teenager abused in 2007 by Scout leader Al Steven Stein, agrees the youth organization goes too far in defending itself.

"The knives are out and you'd better get your knife out because if you don't, they will tear you to shreds," he said.

Scouting has taken a softer stance since 1,247 confidential files were unsealed in October detailing allegations of sexual abuse by its troop leaders, the Times reported.

"We have heard from victims of abuse and are doing our very best to respond to each person with our utmost care and sensitivity," Scouting spokesman Deron Smith said in offering an apology, counseling and other assistance to the victims.

The newspaper said some plaintiffs' lawyers, including Clark, credit the Scouts for helping victims and note the organization is entitled to defend itself.

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