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Female Boy Scout Alleges Rampant Sexual Harassment By Kansas City Boy Scout Group

Faced with hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy.
Tony Gutierrez

In a major policy shift, the Boy Scouts of America announced in 2017 that it would allow girls to join the 110-year-old organization as Cub Scouts and earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

A 17-year-old female who was fired as a Boy Scout staff member after just 12 days is suing the Kansas City chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, saying she experienced rampant sexual harassment and discrimination.

The lawsuit against the Heart of America Council, Boy Scouts of America, includes graphic descriptions of Boy Scout staff members engaged in drunken party activities, describing the size of their penises and barging in on women as they changed their clothes at Boy Scout camp.

The plaintiffs, identified only as Jane Doe and her mother, Mary Doe, say that Jane Doe was punished and reprimanded for things that male Scouts routinely were allowed to get away with while she was a camper last summer.

They also claim that the Heart of America Council regularly violated its own Youth Protection Training policy (YPT), which requires an adult male and adult female to be present any time an adult has a conversation with someone younger than 18.

The Heart of America Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Heart of America Council oversees scouting activities in 19 counties in eastern Kansas and western Missouri, including metropolitan Kansas City.

In a major policy shift, the Boy Scouts of America announced in 2017 that it would allow girls to join the 110-year-old organization as Cub Scouts and earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Jane Doe says she was terminated as a staff member for leaving camp with a male — even though her mother had signed a release giving her permission to do so. Before that, she says, she was considered one of the top local female Boy Scout leaders.

Her lawsuit, which was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, says she was among the first female staff members at H. Roe Bartle Scout Camp.

The 4,200-acre camp, named after a former Kansas City mayor and boy scout executive, is located in Osceola, Missouri, and draws more than 6,600 Scouts each summer. The camp has been home to the Heart of America Council's leadership development program, the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, since 1929.

The Does’ lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for sex discrimination, sexual harassment, breach of contract and retaliation.

“You would think that the Boy Scouts would have learned, based on all the lawsuits that have happened in recent years about child abuse," said Robin Koogler, an attorney representing Jane and Mary Doe. "But now they’re opening themselves up to do the same thing to young women after allowing them in a couple of years ago. It obviously hasn’t improved at all.”

The national Boy Scouts of America organization filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February after facing hundreds of lawsuits across the country by Scouts alleging they were sexually abused.

In 2017, a Kansas City man obtained a $100 million judgment after claiming in a lawsuit that he was sexually abused more than 2,000 times over five years by a Boy Scout leader.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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