Boy Scouts Give No Apologies, Ordered to Pay $18.5M in Sex Abuse Case

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PORTLAND, Ore. (CBS/AP) An Oregon jury has awarded a man $18.5 million in punitive damages in his sex abuse against the Boy Scouts of America -- and it may be just the first of many financial hits the Scouts will take in a series of upcoming sex abuse lawsuits.

A jury on Friday ordered the Scouts to make the payment to Kerry Lewis, the victim of sex abuse by a former assistant Scoutmaster in Portland in the early 1980s.

Lawyers for Lewis had asked the jury to award at least $25 million to punish the Boy Scouts for what the jury had already agreed in the first phase of the trial was reckless and outrageous conduct.

They also noted the Boy Scouts had never apologized to Lewis, who said Friday at a news conference that the verdict shows that "big corporations can't be above the law." 

Kerry Lewis (AP Photo)

Lewis added that an apology "would mean something to me, but I'm not expecting."

The case was the first of six filed against the Boy Scouts in the same court in Oregon, with at least one other separate case pending. If mediation fails to settle the other cases, they also could go to trial.

The jury decided on April 13 that the Boy Scouts were negligent for allowing former assistant Scoutmaster Timur Dykes to associate with Scouts, including Lewis, after Dykes admitted to a Scouts official in 1983 that he had molested 17 boys.

The jury awarded Lewis $1.4 million in compensatory damages with that verdict, and agreed the Boy Scouts were liable for punitive damages to be determined in the second phase of the trial that ended Thursday.

Scouts officials declined to comment on details of the case because other cases are pending, but issued a statement saying it maintains a "rigorous" system to screen Scout leaders.


March 25, 2010 - Secret Sex Abuse Files: Boy Scouts of America Could Have Stopped Molestation, Expert Says
March 24, 2010 - Boy Scout Molested By Scout Leader Timur Dykes Testifies, Says Dykes was "The Coolest"
March 22, 2010 - Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Coverup? Secret "Perversion Files" Make it to Court
March 19, 2010 - Are Secret Boy Scout "Perversion Files" Hiding Years of Sex Abuse?