SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KSTU-TV, Fox-13 [Salt Lake City UT]
May 19, 2023
By Lucy Nelson
A Sunset man is suing the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, alleging sexual abuse by staff members.
“I told myself, just hold these cards to your chest one day,” said Van Medeiros. “One day, maybe you’ll be able to put them on the table.”
Since he was 7 years old, Medeiros said he has held on to secrets from the past he said ruined his childhood in 2009.
“From ages 7-to-13, I was routinely sexually abused by several members of the church,” he claims. “I never was able to tell my story because I was threatened essentially, that would ruin not just my life, but my mother’s life.”
The lawsuit states that “counselors, teachers, trustees, directors, officers, employees, agents, servants and/or volunteers,” of the local Crossroads of the West Council of Boy Scouts of America, “sexually assaulted, sexually abused, and/or had sexual contact” with Medeiros while he was a minor.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the suit is one of more than 82,000 abuse claims filed against Boy Scouts of America in recent years, some of which have implicated the church.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was the organization’s largest sponsor before formally ending its century-long partnership in 2020.
Medeiros said the trauma stemming from his past impacts him to this day.
“I have tried drowning out those bad thoughts and memories for years with drugs, with all sorts of stuff; medication, meditation, everything, nothing works.”
He encourages any victims of sexual abuse to speak out.
“If somebody’s hurting you, talk about it, don’t listen to this nonsense, don’t listen to the threats they’re taking,” he said.
A spokesperson with the Church said they hadn’t heard about the lawsuit until FOX 13 News sent the document, and they will be reviewing it.
The Boy Scouts of America and the Crossroads of the West Council did not respond for comment.