News Release: Boy Scouts, Former Scoutmaster Peter Stibal Named in Civil Lawsuit

Doe 29 Lawsuit Names Boy Scouts of America, Northern Star Council, River Hills United Methodist Church and Scoutmaster Peter Stibal

Systemic Failure of Boy Scouts, Council and Church to Act on Red Flags Regarding Stibal’s Danger to Boys; Perversion Files Demonstrate Their Knowledge of Risk


(St. Paul, MN) –   A civil lawsuit was filed today in Ramsey County by a former Boy Scout who was sexually abused by his Scoutmaster, Peter Stibal. The lawsuit names Boy Scouts of America (BSA), Northern Star Council, River Hills United Methodist Church – the troop’s chartering organization – and Stibal.

BSA has a longstanding pattern of knowledge of the risk of sexual abuse by its scoutmasters, as BSA keeps ineligible volunteer files specific to sexual abuse, labeled as “perversion files” by BSA. An earlier case brought against the same defendants involving Stibal in Ramsey County was settled in May 2014 right before trial. Stibal’s dangerous tendencies around scouts were made known to the scout leaders up the line, including violations of existing rules and policies designed to keep scouts safe. “There is evidence of systemic failure by BSA to deny and minimize red flags that were received by those up the line at BSA regarding the danger Stibal posed to Scouts,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney for Doe 29. “For decades, BSA has kept its perversion files, which provide countless examples of sexual misconduct and red flags by adult leaders, yet they have continued to ignore these red flags. Doe 29 and many other Boy Scouts have been damaged as a result.”

The perversion files were released to the public for the first time in a landmark case in Oregon in October 2012. In that case, more than 1,200 perversion files from 1965-1985 were made public by order of the Oregon Supreme Court. In the case settled in Ramsey County in May 2014, the Court ordered the production of perversion files for the years 1998-2008. Most recently, in a case set for trial in Santa Barbara, California, the Court ordered production of BSA’s perversion files from 1991-2007: “The existence of thousands of perversion files demonstrates BSA’s longstanding practice of shrouding sexual abuse by its adult leaders in secrecy,” Anderson said.