Calif man sues Boy Scouts, alleging sex abuse

Wednesday - 1/30/2013, 3:35pm EST

By LISA LEFF
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A California man sued a regional Boy Scouts council on Wednesday, alleging he was sexually abused by his scout leader more than 30 years ago.

Coast Guard veteran Mark Dietrich, 49, filed the lawsuit in Solano County Superior Court claiming the scoutmaster of his Vacaville-based troop frequently molested him between 1978 and 1981.

The suit also claims Boy Scouts officials at the local and regional level knew the scoutmaster, Gary Hatfield, had inappropriate contact with other boys, and the abuse occurred "despite knowledge of Hatfield's dangerous propensities and unfitness."

Hatfield, who is also named as a defendant in the case, said he hardly remembered Dietrich and denied abusing him or any other scouts.

"That's a joke," Hatfield, 60, said of Dietrich's allegations.

Hatfield said he currently helps oversee a Nevada branch of a breakaway scouting organization called Confederate Scouts of America that split ranks with the Boy Scouts of America about 15 years ago.

The Navy veteran now works as an apartment maintenance man in Reno.

The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they were sexually abused. However, Dietrich told the AP that he filed the suit to reach out to other former Boy Scouts who were abused.

"My message is that it's not your fault and you have nothing to be ashamed about, and I encourage you to speak out and seek resolution and accountability," he said.

Deitrich's lawyer, Irwin Zalkin, would not provide further details on the allegations.

However, he said Hatfield had not been named in internal Boy Scouts of America records on adult volunteers suspected of molestation that have been made public in similar lawsuits and are widely known as the "perversion files."

Neither the Boy Scouts' Golden Empire Council nor the national organization would comment.

The case filed Wednesday is the latest in a string of sexual abuse lawsuits brought against the Boy Scouts of America or its affiliates.


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