A former Boy Scout sexual abuse survivor, who had stayed silent about his ordeal for nearly 50 years, says the $1.9 billion dollar victims settlement reached by coalition lawyers is a “massive step forward.”
“Patrick,” who remains active in the Scouts, spoke with The Post under a pseudonym because he said he had not discussed his ordeal with anyone except his lawyer before.
“Nobody I know who is alive other than the people on this phone call know my story,” he said Tuesday, on a call with Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice lawyer Adam Slater and a rep for the legal organization.
Patrick said knew he wanted to join the BSA since his mother took him to see the movie “Follow Me, Boys!” when he was 6 years old.
He joined a Texas troop in the 1970s at age 11 and traveled to campgrounds near and far while being mentored by scoutmasters that he still idolizes.
“To this day I aspire to emulate them,” an emotional Patrick said, through tears. “They were men of honor. They were great men, as were most of the adult leaders in my life, but not all of them.”
“The best experiences of my life growing up were in Boy Scouts in my troop,” Patrick said. “The worst experience of my life was also in scouting, not in my troop.”
When Patrick was 13 he met a scouting professional who invited him to his ranch to earn a farming merit badge.
Instead, he was plied with beer and molested by both the predator and an older child who had also been groomed and abused. The sexual assaults continued for nearly five years and haunt him to this day, he said.
“I’ve completely lost my faith. I’ve lost my marriage. Two of my children are estranged from me,” he said.
“And I ascribe all of those to the abuse that I received and the sexual dysfunction that has caused me over the years, not to mention psychological issues, not to mention physical issues.”
The attacks also left Patrick with oral herpes.
“It’s bad and I’ll have that the rest of my life. Once you get it, it doesn’t get away,” he said.
Despite his traumatic experience, Patrick continues to be heavily involved with the Boy Scouts, where he is a certified “high adventure” instructor, teaching climbing, caving and rafting.
The lifelong scout continues to find a well of personal strength from his work in the organization.
“I’ve saved the lives of four people who would be dead right now if it wasn’t for my training in the Boy Scouts,” Patrick said, adding that he continues to safeguard countless others from an experience like his.
“No matter how vigilant the shepherd is, the wolves are going to get through. I’ve spent my life making sure that at least with the scouts that I’m shepherding, the wolves don’t get through.”
Patrick said he spent all of last weekend reading through the settlement agreement, and was heartened by the BSA’s appointment of an abuse survivor to its board.
“I think this is a massive step forward … having seen the good that’s in the Scouts, I hope that will continue and I hope they will continue to take measures to ensure the safety of everyone to the best of their ability,” Patrick said, as his voice cracked with emotion.
“This action to add a survivor to the very top level of its decision-making is going to reverberate far beyond the Boy Scouts,” said Slater of Slater Slater Schulman LLP. “It should serve as a clarion call to other institutions facing historical abuse claims, from USA Gymnastics to universities to the Catholic Church.”
Plaintiffs began voting to approve the new BSA bankruptcy plan last week before ballots are tabulated in January.
“I will vote in favor of the settlement,” Patrick said.