Suit: Scoutmaster abused Boy Scouts in '60s and '70s

The Boy Scouts of America is named in a lawsuit that alleges sexual abuse by a former troop leader.

Story highlights

  • 17 scouts and 2 women accuse former Connecticut scoutmaster of abuse between 1963 and 1975
  • The lawsuit, filed last month in a Connecticut court, accuses the Boy Scouts of America of negligence
  • Boy Scouts of America says they have just been made aware of the specific allegations
  • Scouts extend "deepest sympathies to any person who has been hurt by child sexual abuse"

(CNN)Seventeen former boy scouts say in a lawsuit filed last month that they were sexually assaulted by their former scout leader between 1963 and 1975.

The class action suit, filed in Stamford, Connecticut, Superior Court, alleges the abuse by scoutmaster Donald Dennis, now deceased, included anal penetration and forced oral sex with the boys aged 11 to 14 -- and in the case of one child, happened over 1,000 times -- according to Brooke Goff, attorney for the plaintiffs.
The suit names the Boy Scouts of America as a defendant, as well as the Fairfield Council of Boy Scouts of America and the Connecticut Yankee Council.
    It is the largest single lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts pertaining to one scoutmaster, according to Goff.
    "This is like a pedophile breeding ground," Goff said about the organization, which she said at the time of the alleged abuse "encouraged one-on-one time with scoutmasters."
    The lawsuit accuses the Boy Scouts of negligence: knowing that "scouting was being used and exploited by child molesters to gain access to and gain the trust of Scouts," yet doing "nothing to alter its Scouting program."