New Suit Identifies Columbia Heights Scout Leader as Sexual Abuser

Scout Leader Wallace Schrade Sexually Abused Boy Scout When Boy’s Father Was Too Sick to Protect the Boy

(Minneapolis, Minnesota—November 23, 2015)

BSA PatchToday, attorneys filed another lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and the St. Paul-based Northern Star Council for sexual abuse committed by Scout leader Wallace Schrade.

The victim in today’s suit – referred to as “John Doe 157” – was approximately twelve years old when he says he was first sexually abused by Scout Leader Wallace “Wally” Schrade. According to court documents, Schrade met the victim while serving as the Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 162, which met at the Community Methodist Church near Central Ave NE in Columbia Heights.

“It was no coincidence that Schrade targeted John Doe 157. The boy’s father was very ill, and Schrade took advantage of that vulnerability. We believe the evidence will show that Schrade used the Scouting program to gain the trust of Doe 157’s mother, to spend time alone with the boy, and eventually to sexually abuse him,” said Patrick Noaker, one of John Doe 157’s attorneys. “Shortly after the abuse started, the boy’s father passed away. And the sexual abuse escalated from there,”

John Doe 157, now age 53, reports that he was sexually abused by Scout Leader Schrade on dozens of occasions when he was between 12 and 16 years old in approximately 1975 – 1979. Schrade abused the boy during scout meetings at the Community Methodist Church building, at Tomahawk Boy Scout Camp near Birchwood, Wisconsin, and during “Scouting-related meeting, events, and outings in and around central Minnesota,” the lawsuit alleges.

“This Boy Scout Leader had the opportunity to fill an important, nurturing role in this vulnerable boy’s life. Instead, Schrade abuses that trust and exploited this boy for his own sick purposes,” said attorney Peter Janci of Crew Janci, part of John Doe 157’s legal team.

“Our client is one of probably thousands of boys who were sexually abused in Scouting and have suffered in silence in the decades since — each one always thinking he was the only one. John Doe 157 is very thankful that Minnesota law now allows him to seek justice. And our team is proud to represent him,” said Minneapolis Attorney Patrick Noaker. Noaker is a key member of an attorney team representing sexual abuse survivors throughout the State.

Minnesota’s recently-enacted Child Victims Act allows many victims of child abuse a window to bring claims without restriction from a statute of limitations, even if the abuse occurred decades ago. The Minnesota Child Victim Act passed into law with unanimous support in the Senate and only seven detractors in the House, based largely on evidence that victims often keep child abuse a secret long into adulthood and often have difficulty recognizing that mental health, addiction, or relationship problems experienced as an adult stem from childhood sexual abuse. The window established by the Minnesota Child Victim Act is set to close in 2016.

“Based on our initial investigation, we believe that Scout Leader Wallace Schrade likely had many other victims,” said Patrick Noaker. “We hope that his victims will get the help and justice that they need and deserve under the Minnesota Child Victim Act.”

Today’s lawsuit also alleges that the national Boy Scouts organization knew for decades prior to John Doe 157’s abuse that scout leaders were sexually abusing boys: “Between 1935 and 1971, Defendant BSA identified thousands of additional Scout Leaders who were believed to have sexually abused boys in Defendant BSA’s scouting program. Not all of these men were removed from their positions as a Scout Leader. Rather, at some point prior to 1955, Defendant BSA implemented a secret, internal ‘probation program.’”

“The Boy Scouts knew about this problem in their program, but they kept it a secret and did nothing to fix it. It was a serious betrayal of trust,” said Attorney Steve Crew of Crew Janci LLP.

Attorney Craig Vernon added: “The Scouts knew well before this man was abused that if they did nothing to change how they operated, thousands of children would be victimized. They weighed the options and chose to do nothing. As a result, thousands of children were predictably assaulted, including the man coming forward today.”

In filing this lawsuit, John Doe 157 joins nearly a dozen similar victims who have recently filed lawsuits in Minnesota against the Boy Scouts of America and its local chapters. Many of these followed a public announcement in June by Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough disclosing his own sexual abuse as a boy scout.

According to John Doe 157’s attorneys, the Boy Scouts of America have 47 Minnesota Perversion Files that were created after 2000 which the Boy Scouts refuse to make public. Approximately 1,200 Perversion files from the 1960s thru the 1980s can be found on the Crew Janci LLP website.

 

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