The Idaho Legislature enacted Idaho Code title 6, chapter 17 in 1989, providing a cause of action for child sexual abuse. In 2007, an amendment added a discovery clause (Idaho Code section 6-1704) which significantly liberalized the time period in which to file a law suit, allowing a child-abuse victim to bring a claim against an abuser or his employer “within five (5) years of the time the child discovers or reasonably should have discovered the act, abuse or exploitation and its causal relationship to an injury or condition suffered by the child, whichever occurs later.”
In 2009, the Idaho Supreme Court dealt a blow to child sexual abuse survivors in the case of Morgan vs. The Boy Scouts of America. Although the 2007 amendment seemingly gave the victim the right to sue for abuse that had occurred before its enactment, for example in 1979, the Supreme Court held otherwise. It said that the statute cannot be applied to the conduct that occurred before the statute was enacted. Thus, the BSA was not held accountable and the lawsuit was dismissed.
Fortunately that is not the end of the story. In 2012, Judge B. Lynn Winmill, Chief Judge, United States District Court, Idaho, issued a Memorandum Decision and Order (click here to read the Memorandum Decision) that upheld the right of a former scout who was then 59 years old to sue both the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for child sexual abuse that had occurred between 1965 – 1971. The Judge allowed the case based on the theory of fraud; i.e. that the BSA “knew since at least 1920 that men had been using scouting to sexually prey upon young boys, but they failed to disclose this to Doe,” as well as the position of trust and confidence which the BSA knowingly created for their Scout Leaders and which the scout and his parents had no reason to suspect was wrong.