In a potentially historic lawsuit, 17 former scouts and two women have sued the Boy Scouts of America claiming a Connecticut scoutmaster sexually abused them hundreds of times over a period of 12 years in the 1960s and 1970s, the Hartford Courant reports. “Our nationwide search shows it was the largest individual suit involving one scoutmaster,” Brooke Goff, attorney for the plaintiffs, tells the Ridgefield Press. According to the Courant, the lawsuit claims Donald Dennis abused the scouts—who were between the ages of 11 and 17—at his home, at the church where the troop met, and on camping trips. It also states he forced two girls to watch him abuse the scouts at his home. Goff says Dennis molested one of the plaintiffs more than 1,000 times.
The 19 plaintiffs are suing the Boy Scouts of America, as well as two local chapters, the Courant reports. According to the Press, Dennis died at 84 two years ago, and the plaintiffs aren't seeking any damages from his estate. The lawsuit claims the organization's leaders knew—or at least should have known—Dennis was a danger to the children, the AP reports. It states they didn't do anything to protect the scouts, including having other adults present or doing background checks, according to the Courant. "There was never any supervision on the camping trips," Goff says. "They just left this guy alone with all of these kids and he would go from tent to tent molesting boys."