Two men sue Boy Scouts for alleged sex abuse

Jeff Anderson, Steven Josephson and Dave Lundquist
Attorney Jeff Anderson with clients Steven Josephson and Dave Lundquist at a press conference in St. Paul, Minn., on July 9, 2015. The men are holding pictures of themselves when they were boys.
Brandt Williams | MPR News

Two Minnesota men filed lawsuits Thursday against the Boy Scouts of America and its local chapter, the Northern Star Council, alleging sexual abuse by Scouts leaders decades ago.

David Lundquist, of Woodbury, Minn., and Steven Josephson, of Fridley, Minn., say they were sexually abused by their scoutmasters while they were members of different St. Paul-based troops in the late 1960s and early '70s. One of the men alleges abuse by the same scoutmaster Ramsey County Board Chair Jim McDonough accused of abusing him.

In a lawsuit filed in Ramsey County District Court, attorney Jeff Anderson asked the court to order the national organization and its local chapter to release the names of all Scouts leaders and volunteers accused of child molestation over the last 30 years.

That is necessary, Anderson said, "so that those that need to know in scouting are informed, are warned, are trained and the hazard we know exists today and right now is abated."

In a statement, leaders of the Northern Star Council said the two men accused of abusing the plaintiffs were immediately removed from scouting when their actions were discovered. The council said it shares the names of suspected abusers with law enforcement.

The Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that it removes any adult volunteer accused of inappropriate behavior with children. The organization also keeps files on volunteers accused of misconduct to track them and keep them from participating in future scouting activities.

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The Northern Star Council oversees scouting in central Minnesota and part of western Wisconsin. According to the council's website, the names of some of the volunteers barred from Scouting are kept private to protect the identity of victims or of people wrongly accused. However, it states that the criminal files are public if charges are filed.

Last month, Ramsey County Board Chair Jim McDonough filed a lawsuit, claiming he was abused by Scoutmaster Leland Opalinski.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, Josephson claims Opalinski also abused him. Josephson said he and McDonough were in the same troop and were good friends. But he said neither knew each other's secret.

"I did not know he was a victim," Josephson said of McDonough. "He did not know I was a victim until about a year, year and a half ago when I contacted Jeff [Anderson]."

Opalinski died in 2014 at age 73.

Lundquist said Scouts leader Richard Swendiman abused him. Swendiman died in 2006 at the age of 71.