On Monday, over a dozen lawsuits were filed against the Boy Scouts of America — claiming the organization was negligent in allowing a convicted sexual predator to be allowed in a southwest suburban scout troop in the 1980s.
According to the NBC5 and the Chicago Sun-Times, the 15 suits name the Boy Scouts of America and the organization’s Chicago Area Council as defendants. All suits were filed in Cook County Circuit Court and the complaints seek millions in damages.
According to the news outlets, the suits claim years of sexual abuse between the years 1981 and 1988 — by a man named Thomas Hacker who is now, 81, and imprisoned – back when he associated with the southwest suburban Burbank Scout Troop 1600.
Hacker also went by the name of “Thomas Edwards” according to the news outlets and also worked as a scout leader in Indiana, in secret back in the 1960s. The news outlet reports that in 1961, he was arrested for molesting boys during a scout camp out and would later go on to join an additional two other scout troops in Indiana after that initial arrest.
According to the news outlets, Hacker was then arrested ten years later in Cook County “for taking indecent liberties with a child,” according to the suit, claiming that despite Hacker’s pedophilia and predatory nature being known fact to the Boy Scout leadership since at least 1971, he was able to join Troop 1600 in the late 1970s or early 1980s, allegedly.
“Boy Scouts of America did not conduct a background check on Mr. Hacker when he began volunteering with the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America,” the suits claim, according to the news outlets.
According to the news outlets, Hacker was also given coined as an “ineligible volunteer” by the Scouts back in 1971 — but that didn’t block Hacker from getting to be with kids.
“In addition to being deemed an ‘Ineligible Volunteer,’ Thomas Hacker was also discharged from Chicago Public Schools for molesting children in the late 1970s or early 1980s,” according to the suits.
According to the news outlets, The Boy Scouts of America did not provide comment. The news outlets report that hacker is accused of victimizing the scouts between 1981 and 1988 ranging from 4-year-olds to teenagers, according to the suits. The news outlets report that many of the molestations happened at a Scout-owned campground in western Michigan.
In 1989 after his arrest by Burbank police in 1988 – Hacker admitted to molesting hundreds of boys, according to the news outlets.
According to the news outlets, just last year Burbank Park District was the subject of a lawsuit that claimed the district was negligent in not stepping in to stop Hacker’s attacks continue. The news outlets report that before Monday’s deluge of litigation – at least five other lawsuits related to Hacker’s attacks have been filed in Cook County since 1990.