Parents sue Boy Scouts after sons molested by Scoutmaster

6:28 PM, May 21, 2010   |    comments
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Steven Greenleaf

St. Petersburg, Florida -- The parents of three Pasco County boys are suing the Boy Scouts of America and the West Central Florida Council, claiming the organizations failed to protect their sons.

Last year, the boys' Scoutmaster Steven Greenleaf was convicted of molesting the kids while in his care.

"He is a monster.  I don't know of any other word to explain it," said Jennifer, the parent of one of the boys.  She asked we not provide her last name to protect her son.

"An innocent child's life is ruined, destroyed.  He has to learn to trust people again and that's not fair.  It should have never been like that when it was preventable," said Jennifer.

In the years since the abuse, the boys who are now teens have suffered from depression, anger, loss of trust and loss of hope.  Their parents blame Greenleaf and the Boy Scouts.

The civil lawsuit, filed in Pinellas County on Friday claims the Boy Scouts not only failed to protect their children, but failed to implement its own policies of abuse training for assistant Scoutmasters and parents.

Training, Jennifer believes may have helped put a stop to the abuse even sooner.

"There were signs of anger when he came back from camping trips.  I just associated it with him being tired," said Jennifer.

She later added, "If I was aware of it, I would have known the signs, I would have been aware of how people manipulate children.  I would have been aware of all these things."

"There are two things.  One, there is the duty and responsibility to do some kind of screening and background for suitability and second, because that isn't going to catch everyone, obviously, is to have training of parents and boys in the troops," said attorney Joseph Saunders.

The Boy Scouts of West Central Florida Council was not aware of the lawsuit and tells 10 Connects it's not appropriate to comment on the case because they have not been served with the lawsuit.  It could take up to a week for the suit to be served.

Laura Kadechka, 10 Connects

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