June 9, 2017
Here is another story of a person using his authority over children to gain their trust and sexually assault them, causing the children irreparable harm.
An 18-year-old California man has brought a lawsuit against his former Boy Scout den master, whom he says sexually abused him in 2008. The plaintiff is also suing the local Boy Scouts of America council for its failure to stop the abuse from happening, despite obvious red flags.
Ronald Guinto was convicted in January 2017 of 87 of the 90 counts brought against him in the criminal case involving child molestation, kidnapping, and dissuading his victims from testifying against him. Prosecutors said Guinto used his position as a teacher at Making Waves Academy in Richmond and as the founder of a youth program called Camp Epic to molest boys.
The man who’s the plaintiff in the Santa Clara County lawsuit, known only as “J.A.,” was one of 15 boys that law enforcement believes had sexual contact with Guinto going as far back as 2002 in the East Bay and South Bay.
The Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council of the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that Guinto hasn’t been involved in their organization since 2012. He was barred from future involvement in 2014.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members,” the statement said. “We seek to prevent child abuse through comprehensive policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse.”
Scout Policies and Procedures Not Followed
The Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council’s policies and procedures include a “thorough screening process” for adult leaders and staff, criminal background checks that mandate that two or more adult leaders to be present with youths at all times during scouting activities, as well as the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.
Guinto was appointed den master of Pack 220 in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose in 2008—despite the fact that he had no children of his own and no scouting or wilderness experience, according to court documents which were filed recently in Santa Clara County Superior Court. J.A.’s claim states that Guinto befriended the then-9-year-old boy after he joined the scout pack that summer. Guinto paid J.A. special attention, which included helping him with his homework and covering the cost of his camping gear. What the complaint terms as “grooming behavior” continued to the extent of with Guinto also gaining the trust of the boy’s mother and subsequently driving the boy home from meetings—a violation of the Scout policy that prohibits one-on-one contact between leaders and youths.
The turning point in the boy’s ordeal came during an overnight weekend camping trip in the Santa Cruz Mountains. J.A. claims that Guinto obtained “parent proxies”—not permitted by the Boy Scouts—which let him to act as legal guardian for J.A. and another boy. As the boys’ proxy, the three slept in the same tent.
One 14-year-old scout asked Guinto about the sleeping arrangements, and some parents and volunteers knew of this, but they did nothing, the lawsuit alleges. J.A. claims he awoke one night and found Guinto fondling the other boy.
Guinto also played a game during the trip called “cup check” in which he hit the genitals of scouts, the complaint says. One of the parents filed a formal written complaint about Guinto’s behavior with two employees of the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council, however, the lawsuit says that Guinto wasn’t reprimanded.
Some months later, Guinto drove J.A. home from a meeting at a local and molested him, J.A. claims. The church is also being sued because it was the chartered organization that supervised the operations of the scout pack.
The attorney representing J.A. said the BSA Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council could have prevented harm to J.A. and other children by complying with the law and Scout rules.
J.A. is said to have difficulty interacting with and trusting others as a result of the alleged abuse. His lawsuit seeks damages of more than $25,000 for sexual assault and battery; negligence; negligent training, supervision, monitoring and retention; and intentional infliction of emotional distress
Look for Signs of Trouble
Some children won’t tell you that they are being molested, so look for these signs:
- The child is acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys, objects, etc.;
- The child has become reclusive and secretive;
- The child is angrier than in the past; and
- The child doesn’t want to be left alone with a specific person or in a certain place.
At the Cifarelli Law Firm, our mission is to hold the perpetrators of child abuse accountable for their heinous actions. The compensation we obtain for our victims won’t replace what was lost, but it can help pave the road to recovery.
Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your situation with a professional and compassionate Cifarelli Law Attorney, at (949) 502-8600.