Like everyone in Central Florida, I was shocked to read about the arrest of 25-year-old George Fout on multiple charges of child sexual abuse, molestation, and battery. According to the WESH-TV website, Mr. Fout has admitted to Marion County deputies that he sexually abused at least one eight-year-old boy, and five other boys have come forward with similar charges. Apparently, Mr. Fout came into contact with these boys through the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of America organizations.
According to Marion County deputies, George Fout described himself as a “Monster” and indicated that he would abuse more children if he was not put in jail. Hopefully, the criminal justice system will help Mr. Fout fulfill his wishes.
As an Orlando child sexual abuse attorney, I was troubled by another aspect of the WESH-TV story. Apparently, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they were severing ties with George Fout’s parents. The Boy Scouts’ statement indicated that they suspect that one or more Scouting youth protection policies were breached by the older Fouts. This announcement was made despite denials by the Fout parents that they knew anything inappropriate was going on. Nevertheless, deputies reported that George Fout met all of the victims through Cub Scouts and used to have the boys spend the night with him in his parents’ home. Shouldn’t the Fout parents have suspected something when their 25-year old son was having sleepovers in their house with eight-year-old boys?
Organizations such as Boy Scouts of America can be held liable for child sexual abuse if there is evidence that the organization did not properly screen or background check its volunteers, or that the organization failed to properly monitor or supervise the activities between adult participants and children. It will be interesting to learn more about the relationship between Boy Scouts of America and the Fout family, and how much supervision there really was. For the sake of the children/victims, I hope Boy Scouts of America moves quickly to see that these children receive the very best in counseling and aftercare.
If you have any questions regarding a Florida child sexual abuse case, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Bob Hemphill at 407-644-4444.