LUTZ, Fla. – 14 years ago in Boy Scouts Troop 12, a then 16-year-old boy scout was allegedly sexually abused by a long-time screen printer in the local community, according to a new lawsuit filed May 4th in Hillsborough County.
Plaintiff “John CG Doe,” whose real name is kept undisclosed, states the abuse began in 2007 when allegedly John Baird, now deceased, perpetrated various sexually illicit acts against him, including while engaged in Boy Scout activities occurring at the organization’s Flaming Arrow Scout Reservation.
Baird appears to have co-owned Triangle T’s Screen Printing located at 1641 Land O’ Lakes Boulevard, along with his now-deceased wife, Geneva, who was also known as “Jenny.” Baird died at age 61 in 2008, approximately one year after the alleged abuse occurred with his obituary requesting donations for Boy Scouts Troop 12. He served as a Boy Scouts assistant scoutmaster, youth leader, and volunteer when he allegedly violated “Doe.”
The lawsuit seeks damages against the Boy Scouts’ Greater Tampa Bay Area Council, as well as its former Gulf Ridge Council. It states “Doe” has suffered “severe and permanent psychological, emotional and physical injuries, shame, humiliation, and the inability to lead a normal life.”
It specifically describes “Doe” as having suffered loss of self-esteem, guilt, relationship problems, flashbacks, anxiety, anger management problems, depression, mood swings, lack of respect for authority, and a loss of enjoyment of life. It also states “Doe” has “incurred and will continue to incur, costs for treatment.”
It is not known why the lawsuit was only recently filed, and what other factors in “Doe’s” life may contribute to his lifelong challenges.
Although the lawsuit states the Boy Scouts knew Baird had a propensity to sexually violate the organization’s members, the accusation is claimed “upon information and belief,” meaning, there is no personal, firsthand knowledge to defend such a claim. It also states that “upon information and belief,” the Boy Scouts allowed Baird to continue his work with the organization, although he allegedly displayed the characteristics and exhibited the grooming techniques of a pedophile.
The Boy Scouts of America filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Delaware courts during February 2020 with liability insurance that is relied upon to pay sexual abuse claims. The court established a deadline of November 16, 2020, for any sexual abuse victims to file a written, descriptive claim form.
Adam D. Horowitz and Jessica D. Arbour of Horowitz Law, Fort Lauderdale, are “Doe’s” attorneys.
Jim Rees, Chief Executive of the Boy Scouts’ Greater Tampa Bay Area Council submitted the following statement:
“The Greater Tampa Bay Area Council takes all claims of child abuse very seriously. We report all allegations and suspicions of abuse to local authorities and cooperate with them during their investigation. Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs – it is our top priority. The BSA has some of the strongest youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization, which are informed by respected experts in the fields of child safety, law enforcement, and child psychology. The BSA’s multi-layered process of safeguards includes the following measures, all of which act as barriers to abuse: mandatory youth protection training for all volunteers and employees; a leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interaction alone with children – either in person, online, or via phone or text; a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse to law enforcement. Our volunteers and employees take these measures extremely seriously. The BSA also offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) and email contact address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to access counseling and help needed to report any suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior.”
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