(Minneapolis, Minnesota—November 24, 2015)
A second Minneapolis-area man filed a sexual abuse lawsuit alleging that local Boy Scout Leader, Wallace “Wally” Schrade sexually abused him when he was a Boy Scout. The controversy is that Schrade, who served as the Assistant Scoutmaster for Columbia Heights Troop 162 during the 1970s and early 1980s, boldly and publicly denied the allegations of another man identified as John Doe 157.
Yesterday, John Doe 157 filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Boy Scouts, identifying Schrade as the Scout Leader who sexually abused him in the mid-1970’s. (Click Here for John Doe 157 v. The Boy Scouts of America et al.) According to an article appearing on the Pioneer Press website by reporter Elizabeth Mohr dated 11/23/15:
Schrade, reached by phone Monday, said it was the first he’d heard of the claims and the first time anyone had ever accused him.
“I just don’t think it’s true,” Schrade said. “I don’t know where it comes from.”
Schrade confirmed that he was a leader for a Columbia Heights Boy Scout troop and said he held many positions over the years he was involved with the Scouts.
He declined to comment further.
Then today, on the heels of Schrade’s public denial, a second member of Schrade’s Boy Scout Troop came forward and publicly accused Schrade of child sexual abuse.
This second victim – referred to in court documents as “John Doe 158” – filed a lawsuit today in Ramsay County District Court. The lawsuit alleges that: “Scout Leader Wallace Schrade sexually abused [the boy] on multiple occasions for approximately four years in the mid-1970s” while Doe 158 was a minor. (Click Here for Complaint in John Doe 158 v. The Boy Scouts of America).
“I could not stand by and watch our former Boy Scout Leader Wally Schrade deny that he had sexually abused boys in our Boy Scout Troop. What happened to me was wrong and it has caused me significant pain over the years. I stand along with my childhood friend [John Doe 157], and on behalf of others who Schrade may have abused, to say ‘enough is enough.’ Stop the secrets and stop abusing children,” said John Doe 158.
According to a posting on the KSTP.com website, in a telephone interview today with KSTP-TV Reporter Joe Augustine, when asked whether there was any truth to the allegations, Schrade responded “I have no idea … I don’t think so,” declining further comment until he hired an attorney.
“Pedophiles often have multiple victims and operate in distinct patterns – using the same tactics to gain access to boys. We are confident that, as these cases progress, the testimony of the members of Troop 162 will be consistent and will tell the truth about what really went on,” said Minneapolis Attorney Patrick Noaker, one of John Doe 158’s attorneys.
“Long before John Doe 157 and 158 were abused, the Boy Scouts of America knew that if they did nothing to change how they operated, thousands of children would be victimized in the future. They chose not to make meaningful changes to their program. As a result, thousands of children were predictably abused, including the men coming forward from Troop 162 this week,” said Attorney Peter Janci of Crew Janci LLP, part of the legal team for John Does 157 and 158. “And the problem continues.”
According to the LA Times Database of Boy Scout Ineligible Volunteer Files, the Boy Scouts of America have at least 49 secret files (“Perversion Files”) on suspected pedophiles in Minnesota who were reported after 2000 and who could still be in the community. The Boy Scouts have refused to release these files or the identities of these men to the public. (Approximately 1,200 of the Boy Scouts secret “Perversion Files” from the 1960s thru the 1980s can be found on the Crew Janci LLP website.)
Today’s lawsuit, like the other, names the Boy Scouts of America and the St. Paul-based Northern Star Council as Defendants. Together, both lawsuits allege that the Boy Scouts are responsible for sexual abuse committed by Scout leader Wallace Schrade because the organizations knew for decades prior to John Doe 158’s abuse that scout leaders were sexually abusing boys. The lawsuit alleges that: “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.’”
“Based on our initial investigation, we believe that Scout Leader Wallace Schrade likely had other victims. In the past, pedophiles and the institutions have been able to count on social stigma and archaic laws to keep victims of child sexual abuse silent. But Minnesota is changing that,” said Noaker, a key member of an attorney team representing sexual abuse survivors throughout the State. “We hope that his victims will get the help and justice that they need and deserve under the Minnesota Child Victim Act.”
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.
In filing this lawsuit, John Doe 158 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.