Lawsuit involving sexual assault brought against Carnation Boy Scout Troop, Riverview SD

Lawsuit stems from alleged assaults that happened in the 1990s during scouting events.

A civil lawsuit has been filed against a Carnation-based Boy Scout Troop and Riverview School District involving the alleged sexual assault of a minor nearly three decades ago.

An adult man brought the suit forward earlier this year, alleging he was sexually assaulted as a preteen by an adult volunteer during his time in Boy Scout Troop 411.

The alleged assaults took place over the span of multiple years during the 1990s, according to the lawsuit. At least one assault allegedly happened at Carnation Elementary School.

Troop 411 serves boys in Carnation and Duvall who attend schools in the Riverview School District and are between ages 11 and 17.

The identity of both the man and volunteer leader were not identified in court documents. The Valley Record typically does not name survivors of sexual assault, nor does it name those accused of a crime unless charges are filed.

The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, is expected to go to trial next spring, seeking both punitive and compensatory damages.

Alongside Troop 411 and the Riverview School District, three other parties are named in the suit: American Legion – Lower Snoqualmie Valley Post 199, Chief Seattle Council and Northern Trails District.

Legion Post 199 is the local chapter of a national U.S. Veterans organization. The group charters Troop 411, according to the troop’s website.

Chief Seattle Council and Northern Trails District are local governing bodies under the Boy Scouts of America.

The Texas-based Boy Scouts of America have been one of the nation’s largest youth organizations since its founding over a century ago. Recently, the organization has seen widespread and disturbing numbers of sexual assault allegations.

Over 80,000 adults nationwide have claimed they were sexually abused as children by an adult leader while participating in Boy Scouts, the Associated Press reported earlier this year. Most of those claims came prior to the 1990s, before Boy Scouts adopted mandatory criminal background checks and other abuse-prevention tactics for its volunteers.

Many allegations have come to light in the past three years, after several states relaxed statute of limitation laws for reporting sexual assault crimes, the AP reported. Washington state loosened its statute of limitations law for sexual assault in 2019, fully eliminating reporting restrictions for those who were under age 16 at the time of the alleged incident. Prior to that, survivors of childhood sexual assault had until their 30th birthday to pursue a case.

Amid the widespread assault allegations and a declining membership, the cash-strapped Boy Scouts filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020 in an effort to survive lawsuits. A $2.46 million reorganization plan was approved earlier this year, the AP reported, allowing Boy Scouts to to continue operating while compensating survivors.

The Carnation lawsuit alleges the defendants failed to properly vet and screen the scout leader when appointing him to his volunteer position. It also claims defendants worked in concert to conceal the sexual abuse, allowing the scout leader to continue serving the troop.

Voicemails left for lawyers representing Legion Post 199 and Riverview School District on Dec. 2 seeking comment were not returned by press time Tuesday (Dec. 6). An email sent to a Riverview spokesperson was also not returned. A call made to a lawyer representing the Boy Scouts and Chief Seattle Council was directed to the law firm’s spokesperson. A voicemail left for that spokesperson was not returned by press time. An email sent to Troop 411 on Dec. 2 was also not returned.

If you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse, you can contact the national sex abuse hotline at 800-656-HOPE. Locally, you can reach the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center’s 24-hour hotline at 888-998-6423.