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John Doe No More

"I've only told a handful of people. It's not something you really want to share."


His name is John Elliott. No longer silent or anonymous, Elliott told Boise Weekly that soon enough, his work colleagues and even some family members would learn what happened to him 36 years ago.

"I've only told a handful of people. It's not something you really want to share."

Elliott is one of eight Idaho men, seven of them choosing to remain anonymous as "John Doe," suing the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for not adequately protecting them as boys when they were, according to the suit, victims of sexual abuse. The suit, initially filed in June, was amended to include more plaintiffs, including Elliott.

"The basis of the lawsuit is fraud," said Boise-based attorney Andrew Chasan. "[The Boy Scouts and LDS Church] knowingly didn't disclose problems with pedophiles that had infiltrated their ranks."

Elliott said he was molested in 1977 at Camp Morrison in McCall. That's where he said one of his scout leaders, James Schmidt, insisted that Elliott stay in Schmidt's tent.

"He said there was a wolverine outside. He was creating complete fear," said Elliott, who added that other scouts told him that they too had been abused by Schmidt.

Elliott immediately quit the scouts while his mother sent a series of letters of complaint to the BSA, but two years later, Schmidt was spotted at the Boise Zoo with more boys in his charge.

"He was there with uniformed Cub Scouts, and I became very angry," said Elliott. "I went and bought a Coke, poured it over his head and took off running."

Elliott said he spotted Schmidt later at Julia Davis Park fondling another little boy.

"I kicked him in the butt as hard as I could," he said. "Again, we reported this to the Boy Scouts, but I understand that he continued to lead scouts after that."

Schmidt was eventually convicted of sexually related crimes against children in 1983 in Idaho and in 1996 in Maryland.

"In preparation for this lawsuit, we were able to document 16 different pedophiles from 1964 through 2000 here in Southern Idaho," said Chasan. "In addition to Schmidt, there were three other pedophiles that molested plaintiffs in this lawsuit."

Chasan told BW that he expected the litigation to take at least a year. The plaintiffs are seeking damages to be determined by a jury. Chasan said that he expected the list of plaintiffs to grow, sooner than later.

"We already have two more people," he said. "There will be at least 10 plaintiffs."