Successful group action against the Scout Association
I have recently been successful in a group action against the Scout Association for childhood abuse suffered by five clients.
Background – the abuse
My clients were sexually abused by Mr Phillip Muttock, who was the Scout master of the 4th Banbury Scout group. The abuse took place between approximately 1988 and 1998 when my clients were aged between about 12 and 17 years old.
In addition to manipulating his position of trust as a Scout leader, Muttock was also involved at Banbury Athletic Football Club and he tried his utmost to emphasise his good public standing to gain the trust of my clients’ parents and the local community. This enabled him to abuse children for a substantial period of time without detection.
One of my clients decided to report the abuse to the police and a number of other Scouts then disclosed their own abuse at the hands of Muttock. Muttock was charged for sexually assaulting my clients but he only changed his plea to guilty just before his trial was due to start. He was convicted at Oxford Crown Court in 2002 but not in relation to all of my clients as he had entered a plea bargain and this meant I therefore had to prove a number of alleged incidents of abuse.
Our involvement – pursing a compensation claim
I was concerned about pursuing Muttock directly for compensation as there was a real risk he would not have enough money or assets to pay compensation to my clients. I instructed a detective to investigate Muttock and unfortunately my concerns were proven to be true as he had few assets of worth.
As a result, I decided to pursue Muttock’s employer, the Scout Association. It was clear to me that Muttock had used his position as a Scout master to obtain access to my clients before manipulating them and then sexually abusing them. I felt the Scouts were therefore equally responsible for the abuse as they had failed to supervise Muttock even though he was allowed daily interaction with young children.
The Scouts finally admitted they were responsible for Muttock’s actions and I therefore provided them with our medical evidence and my assessment of my clients’ losses and expenses as a result of the abuse. My clients had not only suffered substantial psychiatric injuries but the abuse had also had substantial impacts on their personal relationships, their studies and consequently their careers while a number were recommended psychiatric therapy by my psychiatric experts.
I decided to arrange settlement meetings with the Scout Association’s legal representatives in an effort to progress my clients’ cases. I am glad to report that these settlement meetings were successful and that I was obtain significant sums of compensation for all five of my clients.
The conclusions of these cases were a significant result for my clients as they felt the Scout Association had finally listened not only to what Muttock had done to them but also the impact this had taken on their lives. My clients were satisfied that the Scout Association finally acknowledged they had failed them as children and my clients were also satisfied that their civil cases would help to protect future children from ever having to suffer child abuse.
Dino Nocivelli is a partner in the Abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp. If you feel you may have a claim or are enquiring on behalf of a loved one, contact Dino free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4887 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Abuse team will contact you. Find out more about the Abuse Team.