(Tamuning, Guam) — The lawsuit is the first lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts of America, the first lawsuit filed by an abuse survivor who alleges he complained about the abuse to the Archdiocese, and the first lawsuit filed by an abuse survivor who is jointly represented by a law firm from Guam and from the mainland.
A new sexual abuse lawsuit was filed today against the Archdiocese of Agana, the Boy Scouts of America, and Father Louis Brouillard, a former priest who served within the Archdiocese.
The plaintiff, Anthony “Tony” Flores, alleges he was sexually abused by Father Brouillard in the late 1970s when Mr. Flores and his family were parishioners at San Vicente Ferrer Catholic Church in Barrigada, Guam.
Mr. Flores alleges that he was an altar boy and parish Boy Scout when Brouillard used his position as a Catholic priest and Boy Scout leader to sexually abuse him. He alleges that Brouillard abused him multiple times in multiple occasions, including at an annual Boy Scout Jamboree. Mr. Flores claims he was approximately sixteen years old at the time of the alleged abuse.
Out of the recent cases filed against the Archdiocese, Mr. Flores is the first plaintiff to allege that he complained to the Archdiocese about the abuse by Father Brouillard but nothing was done. Mr. Flores alleges that he told Monsignor Zoilo Camacho that Father Brouillard was sexually abusing children at San Vicente Ferrer parish, but Monsignor Camacho did nothing in response. Instead, Mr. Flores alleges that Monsignor Camacho “snapped at him” and told him to “be quiet and get out of my office.”
Mr. Flores decided to come forward to help other abuse survivors and to seek closure: “I complained because I wanted to try to protect the other boys and I want to make sure they know I tried to protect them. If other people complained, or if other people know the Archdiocese or Boy Scouts were aware of what he was doing, I hope they will come forward, too.”
Mr. Flores is also the first plaintiff to name the Boy Scouts of America and the Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts of America as defendants. In his complaint, Mr. Flores alleges the Boy Scouts and their local council knew or should have known that Father Brouillard was using his position as the Scoutmaster of the Boy Scout Troop for San Vicente Ferrer Catholic Church to sexually abuse children. Mr. Flores alleges that “it was well-known for years that Brouillard used his position as Scoutmaster to take boys swimming in the nude and to sexually abuse young Scout campers during overnight and day trips.”
The complaint further alleges that the Boy Scouts of America knew that men like Father Brouillard were using leadership positions within Boy Scouts to groom and sexually abuse children, but nothing was done to warn them of that danger.
According to the complaint, the Boy Scouts in the 1920s began keeping records on adult volunteers that it deemed to be “ineligible” to volunteer for various reasons, including sexual abuse of children. Between 1965 and 1985, the complaint alleges the Boy Scouts created 1,123 files regarding Scout leaders who were alleged to have engaged in “perversion” with children, which is an average of more than one new file per week.
For example, in 1971, the Chamorro Council Scout Executive, Roger Pelz, reported that the Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 32, David Joseph Ellington, initiated sexual contact with two young boys at the U.S. Coast Guard Naval Station in Guam. Mr. Ellington subsequently left the area and relocated to Phoenix, AZ where he attempted to re-enroll in Scouting.
Mr. Flores alleges that despite knowing that more than a thousand men like Mr. Ellington had used Scouting to sexually abuse children, the Boy Scouts never warned him, his guardians, or other children about the danger of sexual abuse in Scouting.
Mr. Flores alleges the Boy Scouts knew that the ineligible volunteer file system was not working to prevent children from being sexually abused by Scout leaders. For example, the complaint alleges that in 1976, shortly before Mr. Flores claims he was abused, a Boy Scout executive wrote a confidential internal memorandum about the “perversion” files and acknowledged that “the Scout executive learns of improper conduct only after the individual has dropped out of Scouting or has been removed by the responsible local chartered organization.” Mr. Flores alleges the memorandum is an admission “that BSA’s existing policies and procedures were not working to protect boys from being sexually abused by Scout leaders.”
Mr. Flores’s lawsuit is also the first lawsuit to be filed jointly by a Guam law firm and a law firm from the mainland. Mr. Flores is jointly represented by Kevin Fowler of the Guam law firm of Dooley Roberts Fowler & Visosky LLP and Michael Pfau of the mainland law firm of Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC.
According to Fowler, his law firm teamed-up with Pfau in order to help child abuse survivors protect and exercise their rights: “Over more than 20 years, our firm has represented dozens of at risk children who find themselves involved in the Guam court system. It was only natural for our firm to step up to help survivors of child abuse, but we wanted to make sure that we teamed-up with a law firm that has a significant amount of experience in this unique area of the law.”
Pfau and his firm have represented hundreds of sexual abuse survivors across the United States, including many cases against the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America. He has also been closely involved in a number of the Catholic bankruptcies. Pfau is interested to see how the Archdiocese and Boy Scouts handle the lawsuits that have been filed: “I’ve handled many abuse cases against the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts. They normally start by denying everything, and the Church will usually try to hide behind the First Amendment to avoid accounting for what it knew. If the Archdiocese wants to be transparent, it should release its files on Father Brouillard and other priests who have been accused of molesting children. The Church has done this in Chicago and other places, so there is no reason the Archdiocese cannot do it here.”
Fowler is hopeful the lawsuits will lead to closure for Mr. Flores, other abuse survivors, and the local community: “The recent change in the law for child sexual abuse survivors is important because their abuse was too often kept in the dark. A lot of abuse survivors do not realize until much later in life how badly they were harmed by the abuse, and taking control of what happened is usually the first step toward closure. The abuse survivors, and our community, deserve to know not just what happened, but how it happened and how it can be prevented in the future.”