Chicago-area Boy Scouts 'deeply regret' abuse

December 4, 2012

Angelica Robinson and The Associated Press

The head of the Chicago-area Boy Scouts of America council is apologizing for the sexual abuse of scouts.

CEO Charles Dobbins says he hasn't seen a lawsuit filed Tuesday accusing his group and the national organization of failing to protect children from a convicted pedophile.

The suit was filed in Cook County on behalf of a former scout who said he was molested by Thomas Hacker in 1985.

New documents show Hacker was banned from scouting in Indiana in 1970 for sexually assaulting boys but later became an Illinois scoutmaster and went on to molest more boys.

Attorney Christopher Hurley, who represents the anonymous scout, said the Boy Scout organization needs a better system to protect children.

“[Hacker] was able to move from one boy scout local to another without detection,” Hurley said. “The method the Boy Scouts set up to prevent this type of movement was completely inadequate.”

The 75-year-old Hacker was convicted in 1989 and is serving concurrent 50-year prison terms.

Dobbins said the Boy Scouts now routinely conduct background checks and members must report suspected abuse to law enforcement.

The Boy Scouts of Chicago said they can’t comment on the lawsuit but released a statement:

“Any instance of child abuse is intolerable and unacceptable. While we have not seen this lawsuit, we deeply regret that there have been times when Scouts were abused, and for that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims.”