(St. Paul, Minnesota—April 19, 2016)— Today, a Rochester man filed a civil lawsuit in Olmsted County District Court against the Boy Scouts of America and the Rochester-based Gamehaven Council for sexual abuse committed by his Boy Scout Leader Jack D. Tibbetts.
According to court documents, John Doe 160, now age 66, was twelve years old when he says he was first sexually abused by his Scout leader—Jack Tibbetts. The abuse occurred during 1962-1964 on Scouting activities in Rochester and other locations in Minnesota. John Doe 160 is not named in court papers, a practice Minnesota courts allow to permit child sexual abuse survivors to protect their privacy.
In the late 1970’s, Jack Tibbetts was convicted of two counts of criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree and two counts of criminal sexual conduct 4th degree. In 1979, these convictions were overturned by the Minnesota Supreme Court on the grounds that there were flawed jury instructions. [Click Here for State v. Tibbetts]
In late-1979, Jack Tibbetts applied to be a Boy Scout Leader and the Boy Scouts of America approved his application. [Click here for January 11, 1980 Letter]
Years later, in 1987, Tibbetts was involved in litigation relating to Tibbetts attempting to adopt a child in Hennepin County. After learning of the criminal convictions in the late 1970’s, the adoption agency denied Tibbetts’ adoption request. Tibbetts sued the agency and Hennepin County District Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals sided with the adoption agency. [Click Here for Tibbetts v. Crossroads Inc.]
In 1989, Tibbetts applied to become a Boy Scout Leader with the Minneapolis-based Viking Council. His application was declined and Tibbetts involved an attorney. The Boy Scouts declined Tibbetts’ application and only then created an ineligible volunteer (IV) file. [Click Here for BSA IV File for Jack Tibbetts]
“My client has suffered in silence for decades and I am proud to stand by him and fight for him as he breaks that silence,” said Patrick Noaker, one of John Doe 160’s attorneys. “This lawsuit serves as a reminder for any survivor of childhood sexual abuse in Minnesota that the legal deadline to file claims is coming up quickly.” Noaker, and the other attorneys on his team, want to make sure that all survivors of childhood sexual abuse, have an opportunity to seek justice before the May 25, 2016 deadline.
Attorney Lee James noted that: “John Doe 160 joined Scouting to gain everything the Boy Scouts promised—camping adventures, outdoor skills, and friendship. Instead he encountered a child molester. It’s a revolting story. Unfortunately for thousands of men in Minnesota and across the country, sexual abuse in Scouting is a reality they have had to live alone with for decades.”
Court documents state that the Boy Scouts of America and the Rochester-based Gamehaven Council failed to protect John Doe 160 from predictable and preventable harm from Tibbetts. The documents specifically point to the Boy Scouts of America’s “Perversion Files” as putting the organization on notice that it had a significant sexual abuse problem as early as 1935.
“The Perversion Files represent the smoking gun in every Boy Scout sexual abuse case. BSA secretly collected vast amounts of information on pedophiles in Scouting but did not change the way it operated or warn the public, parents, or Boy Scouts about what it knew about child molesters in Scouting,” said Steve Crew, one of John Doe 160’s attorneys.
Court documents describe the Perversion files as containing “unique knowledge” about “pedophiles’ techniques used to enter Scouting, pedophiles’ patterns for grooming victims, and widely-found biographical and behavioral characteristics shared by pedophiles that had entered or were attempting to enter Scouting.” The documents also describe the Boy Scouts of America destroying thousands of Perversion files in the early 1970s for unknown reasons.
Attorney Peter Janci stated that: “The story of John Doe 160’s abuse—being alone with the Scout leader and then being sexually abused, and in other instances being abused with and in front of another boy—is repeated over and over again in BSA’s own Perversion files. The story has three parts—bad policies, grooming, and sexual abuse. This man’s abuse and the abuse of thousands of boys like him were preventable tragedies that happened because of the BSA’s decades-long policy of putting the corporation’s image and cash flow ahead of children’s safety and wellbeing.”
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.”
According to John Doe 160’s attorneys, the Boy Scouts of America have 47 Minnesota Perversion Files that they have refused to make public. Approximately 1,200 Perversion files from the 1960s thru the 1980s can be found on the Crew Janci LLP website.