WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A Waterbury Superior Court jury awarded $7 million to a man on Friday who was sexually abused by a New Fairfield Boy Scout troop leader in the 1970s.
The jury found that the Boy Scouts of America should also be held liable for punitive damages, in addition to the $7 million awarded for compensatory damages. A separate hearing will take place at a later date to determine that additional amount.
The plaintiff’s attorney Paul Slager, of Silver Golub & Teitell in Stamford, said this is the largest compensatory damages verdict in history against the Boy Scouts of America.
During the trial, the plaintiff testified that he was sexually molested three times by Seigfried Hepp, a veteran Boy Scout troop leader from New Fairfield. Evidence showed that another boy in the troop around the same the time was also molested by Hepp.
Hepp pleaded guilty in 1999 to unlawful sexual touching of another minor in a different case. He is a registered sex offender because of it.
The plaintiff’s attorney’s proved that the Boys Scouts of America knew well before the 1970s about the widespread child sex abuse in Boy Scouts troops nationwide. Witnesses revealed the existence of “the Confidential Files” that are hidden at the Boy Scout headquarters in Dallas. Those files date as far back as the 1920s, according to witnesses.
Several Boy Scouts of America’s executives testified during the trial in defense of the Boy Scouts, yet admitted on record to knowing that the secret files exist.