Former Scout files suit over sexual abuse

    A former Chester County Boy Scout says he was sexually abused and is suing the Boy Scouts of America, his former scoutmaster and related religious groups that sponsored his troop.

    It’s the first case in the Philadelphia area since the Boy Scouts of America released its “perversion files” in October.

    Melvin Novak, 28, says he was sexually abused by then-scoutmaster Vance Hein in 1988.

    In the late 1990s, Novak told his parents about the abuse. After a police investigation, Hein pleaded guilty and is currently in jail for possession of child pornography.

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    Novak, who now lives in Delaware, says he’s coming forward publicly to put a name and face to the victims.

    “I wish I would have said something sooner. Because this is almost 15 years after what happened to me and I wasn’t strong enough then to say anything. And how many people are affected because I couldn’t say anything?” he said. “So, maybe this list would have came out sooner if more people stood up back then.

    Novak is also suing the Chester County Council of the Scouts.

    A Scouts representative issued a statement saying that he could not comment specifically since he hasn’t seen the lawsuit yet.

    But he did emphasize that child sexual abuse is unacceptable and expressed sorrow for the victims.


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