Brothers sue church, Boy Scouts over alleged abuse

Brothers sue church, Boy Scouts over alleged abuse

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Two brothers filed a $6.5 million lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America on Monday, alleging they were sexually abused as children in the 1980s by a Mormon "home teacher" who was also a Boy Scout leader.

 

The lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges the church and the Boy Scouts were responsible because the man, identified as Timur Dykes, was an authorized representative of the groups.

It also claims the church failed to report an allegation of abuse against a third brother that could have led authorities to other victims - a claim the church denied.

Dykes was later convicted of child sexual abuse "on several different occasions," according to the lawsuit filed by Portland attorney Kelly Clark, who has also represented victims of alleged abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

Clark provided a list indicating Dykes had been convicted in 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994.

Dykes declined to confirm those convictions. But he said he had served time in prison from 1993 to 2002.

Dykes declined to offer details or other comments, but said "somebody has made a mistake" in reference to the lawsuit.

According to court records, Dykes was convicted in 1994 in Multnomah County on multiple counts of sodomy and sexual abuse. He is serving probation until 2013, said Robb Freda-Cowie, spokesman for the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice.

Dykes, also known as Timur Van Dykes, is listed on the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice Web site as a "predatory sex offender" who "gains access to victims through positions of trust (Boy Scouts, church membership, befriending single mothers); targets vulnerable boys and families; has used intimidation and threats to maintain victim compliance."

Clark called it a "classic pattern" of abuse and suggested that church officials attempted to cover it up.

The church, however, denied the allegations in the lawsuit.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints condemns child abuse and does not tolerate such actions by anyone affiliated with our faith," said Steve English, an attorney for the church in Portland.

English also said Dykes was excommunicated from the Church over twenty years ago and noted his prison record.

Don Cornell, spokesman for the Cascade Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said the organization had no comment on the lawsuit.

But Cornell confirmed that Dykes was registered as a volunteer leader for about a year and half from 1983-84.

Cornell emphasized the Scouts have toughened their screening significantly over the years, including educating children how to recognize and report abuse.

"The protection is just light years ahead of the place it was in the 80s," he said.

The lawsuit alleged that Dykes used a method called "grooming" that conditioned the victims "to comply with Dykes' direction, and to respect Dykes as a person of authority in spiritual, moral and ethical matters."

Clark said the boys' stepmother alleges that church officials told her not to report sex abuse allegations involving a third and older brother to police. The lawsuit claims that police would have discovered other victims, including the younger brothers, if it had been reported.

"It was foreseeable at the time to LDS defendants - and they knew or should have known - that pedophiles or pedophilic predators most often engage in serial abuse of minors under their care," and that "there are most likely numerous additional victims that have either not been discovered or who remain silent about the abuse," the lawsuit said.

The younger brothers, who were not identified, were born in 1972 and 1973. The lawsuit claims the abuse occurred in the mid-1980s.

Each brother seeks $3 million in general damages and $250,000 in economic damages.

The complaint also said a request for punitive damages would be filed. 

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)