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ROCHESTER, MN – An attorney is holding a press conference in Olmsted county and announcing a lawsuit he’s filing against the Boy Scouts of America, as well as a former troop leader.
Those filing this lawsuit say they want a chance to speak out and be heard, as one person who claims to be a victim of sexual assault is sharing his experience.
Saint Paul-based attorney Jeff Anderson made his announcement this morning that he is filing a lawsuit for a man known as “Doe Eight.”
The lawsuit not only accuses a Faribault man of sexual abuse, but also places blame on the Boy Scouts organization, who they say kept the abuse hidden.
“This abuse happened to these two kids now adults in the 1970’s. The new law in Minnesota allows them now to not only come forward to sue and hold accountable not only the offender, but those that chose to protect the offender,” said Anderson.
The victim says that on repeated occasions, the man known as Hokanson, sexually abused a number of kids in the troop.
For Jeanne Ronayne of the Olmsted County Victim’s Services, it’s a decision to speak that we must embrace.
“It’s a really personal decision about whether someone feels that they can make that choice. It’s very personal and individual and we need to honor whatever choice that a victim makes,” said Ronayne.
In her opinion, we’re making strides to help bring the abusers to justice.
“Increasingly, we’re taking the veil of secrecy off of child sexual abuse and the change in this law furthers that, and victims themselves are doing that as well when they say, ‘I have no shame about what happened to me, the shame is fully on the offender’,” said Ronayne.
“This lawsuit today, both of these lawsuits by those John Doe’s are designed to not only get help and bring hope and healing to them, but to reach out to other survivors in the community,” said Anderson.
In a phone interview, Hokanson responds to the allegations saying he is “completely shocked that these accusations are coming up despite happening more than 30 years ago.”
In the press release, it states that back in October 2012, the Boy Scouts of America released about 1,200 “Perversion Files” documenting reports of sexual abuse by Scoutmasters and adult leaders from 1965-1985.
23 of these scout leaders in question all come from Minnesota.