Kelly Clark, Boy Scout Sex Abuse Attorney
This site is sponsored by Kelly Clark, an attorney in Portland, Oregon, who has advised over 300 people in the matters of childhood sexual abuse, including cases against the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, and other churches, youth organizations, and a wide variety of other “institutions of trust.”
Most recently, Kelly was successful in helping survivors who had suffered sex abuse as Boy Scouts. Read the files here.
We know that many child sex abuse survivors must work through incredibly complex emotions of confusion, anger, shame, and depression as they take back their emotional and spiritual power from the perpetrators who abused them and the institutions that sponsored these trust relationships. We know that this process often takes a long time. We also know that, for many survivors of sex abuse, it is a huge step even to admit to themselves, let alone to others, that such unspeakable crimes were committed against them. Sometimes the process of disclosure itself can take years, even decades.
Of course, legal claims and lawsuits are not for everyone, but for some sex abuse survivors, holding the abusers and institutions accountable legally is an important piece of their healing. We want to help sex abuse survivors in any way possible–including discussing your legal options with you. Whether you ultimately decide to pursue justice or not, you should know what your rights are.
For those considering bringing a claim against the Boy Scouts, there can also be an added sense of guilt about bringing legal action against an organization that many view in a positive light, one that no doubt has helped many boys, and, indeed, an organization that stresses “loyalty” as one of its core values. To some survivors, when they first begin to contemplate their options, it almost feels “unpatriotic” to consider such a step. Be assured you are not alone in these feelings. Part of the decision in bringing a legal claim is understanding what the goals are– is it monetary restitution? Is it helping to change the institution for the better? Is it to secure counseling or other mental health help? These are all questions we understand and are equipped to help you work through.
Kelly Clark is licensed in the State of Oregon, as well as federal Courts, including the US District Court for the District of Oregon, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the US Supreme Court. He has brought child sexual abuse cases in numerous states around the country, affiliating with local counsel when necessary. For the last fifteen years he has been one of the leading advocates in the Western United States for childhood abuse survivors. As a member of the Oregon Legislature in 1989 and 1991, he was co-author of Oregon’s extended statute of limitations for child abuse survivors, and co-authored Oregon’s ban on the possession of child pornography. His successes include the landmark cases of Lourim v Swenson and Boy Scouts (Oregon Supreme Court, 1999), and Fearing v Bucher and Archdiocese of Portland (Oregon Supreme Court, 1999) which, taken together, both strengthened the statute of limitations for child abuse survivors and at the same time held “institutions of trust” liable for abuse arising from the relationships sponsored by those institutions. He has also won important trial court victories against the Catholic Church, against schools and governmental agencies where child abuse happened, and, most recently, against the LDS Mormon Church, including numerous wins on questions of statutes of limitations, agency and punitive damages. In the summer of 2007, Kelly won an important victory when the Oregon Supreme Court refused to overturn a trial court order requiring the Mormon Church to disclose its financial strength and records as part of a punitive damages case against the Church. DI v Johnson and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (Oregon Supreme Court, mandamus proceeding, July, 2007).
A 2008 win in the Supreme Court against a police agency was equally significant for its elimination of special immunities for governmental child abusers and their employers. Then in 2010, Kelly along with co-counsel Paul Mones won what was then the largest jury verdict in American history on behalf of a sexual abuse victim (combined general and punitive damages verdict of nearly $20 million), in a widely publicized trial against the Boy Scouts of America.