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Former Cub Scout sues LDS Church, Boy Scouts of America, den leader for alleged rape

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Former Cub Scout sues LDS Church, Boy Scouts of America, den leader for alleged rape (Photo: Utah Department of Corrections)

A 40-year-old man filed a complaint in Utah's Second Judicial District Court on Monday requesting a jury trial against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Boy Scouts of America, Great Salt Lake Council, and Thomas Mark Thackeray.

The former Cub Scout, identified as John Doe, C.J., claims he was raped by Thackeray in the summer of 1991. According to the complaint, Thackeray was appointed den leader by the Church for the Syracuse 5th Ward’s Cub Scout Pack, No. 22. The complaint explains that Thackeray was arrested for distributing pornography to a minor in 1992, and his involvement with the Cub Scout group ended at that time.

However, the complaint also states while Thackeray was den leader that he repeatedly raped the complainant, C.J. The assaults happened after C.J. attempted to intervene in a physically abusive altercation between Thackeray and his adoptive daughter.

C.J. was approximately 12 years old at the time, the court document states. It further states that the "abuse was violent and aggressive, consisting of punches and open-hand slaps," between Thackeray and his adoptive daughter.

When C.J. attempted to defend the girl by first verbally speaking up and then physically stepping between the father and daughter, Thackeray grabbed the complainant and dragged him into a back room with a bed, the court documents state.

In a state of anger, Thackeray proceeded to violently rape C.J, the court documents continue. Although C.J. attempted to fight back, his resistance was futile because of the significant size and weight differential, the complaint states.

After that first incident of rape in the summer of 1991, it is alleged that Thackeray continued to rape and sexually abuse C.J. during nearly every den meeting in which Thackeray was the only male adult present.

The court document also details threats of rape to C.J.'s siblings if he was not compliant with Thackeray's sexual assaults. The documents point to this ongoing threat as the reason C.J. didn't tell anyone about the abuse he sustained.

The complaint alleges the rapes occurred for a year prior to Thackeray being arrested in 1992 for distributing pornography to a minor. However, C.J. was unaware of the arrest, the complaint states.

Nearly 25 years later, C.J. disclosed the abuse to his family after learning Thackeray had been arrested years earlier in addition to experiencing vivid dreams and memories of the sexual assaults.

The complaint states a combination of those factors, triggered by C.J.'s nephews approaching the same age as he was when the alleged rapes occurred, motivated his decision to file the lawsuit.

In addition to Thackeray, the suit holds the Church and scouting program responsible for the assaults since it is alleged they put Thackeray in a position of trust over the complainant. The Church and BSA have policies that no comment is made regarding pending litigation.

Punitive damages for loss of earnings, medical expenses, psychological treatment, is to be determined by the jury at the time of trial, the complaint states.

Thackeray, 72, is currently in Utah State Prison, according to the Utah Department of Corrections Offender registry. He is serving time for the following offenses:

  • November 2008 — 4 guilty counts for dealing in harmful material to a minor. He was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison for each felony count.
  • 1992— Guilty felony count for dealing in harmful material to a minor.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of rape or sexual assault, resources are available to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

The Utah-based Rape Recovery Center can be reached at 801-467-7273. A list of other rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence resources can be found online here.

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