Warning: This story talks about sexual assault and may be distressing to some readers.
A Surrey man claims he was groomed for sexual abuse from an early age and then sexually assaulted hundreds of times by a man who was a Scout leader and United Church volunteer.
A notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court by S.C. alleges Jens Binderup Jensen also took advantage of his work in hotels to access rooms where the alleged assaults took place.
The suit, filed Aug. 22, names as defendants Binderup, Scouts Canada, the United Church of Canada and Board of Trustees of the School District No. 39 Vancouver. The claim calls the aforementioned the youth group defendants.
Also named as defendants: Nurmann Holdings Ltd, La Concha Holdings Ltd., La Concha Motel Ltd., Langley City Motor Inn Ltd., Aldergrove Motor Inn Ltd., the Estate of Isaac Sawatsky, the Estate of Nita Sawatsky and Best Western International, Inc. doing business as Best Western Hotels & Resorts. The claim refers to the businesses as the hotel defendants.
Only the school board responded to Glacier Media's inquiries.
The claim alleges S.C. in 1982 — then five years old — joined a Scouts Beavers group in East Vancouver when he was a Renfrew Elementary School student.
The claim said the school district exercised control of the school property with regard to the plaintiff, people invited to the property and activities on the premises.
Jensen was a Beavers volunteer, the claim said.
It was that year, the claim alleges, that Jensen began the grooming. According to the court documents, he did that by developing trust, inserting himself in the child’s personal life, giving his mother drugs and alcohol, desensitizing the child to his touch, introducing sexual topics and making threats of harm and demands for secrecy.
The claim said escalating behaviour from 1982 through the mid-1990s included kisses, touching, invitations to touch, shaving the child’s genitals, oral sex and anal penetration.
At one point, the claim said, a hotel’s housekeeping staff found bloodied sheets from a room in which the boy and Jensen had been. It asserts the hotel failed to take steps to protect the child.
The court documents further state the Langley and Aldergrove hotels failed to suspend or fire Jensen as a possible risk to the plaintiff or other children.
The claim said the situation would not have occurred but for the activities organized at church, school and hotel premises.
The vulnerable child living in poverty, according to the claim, was in a position of dependency on Jensen. The claim said Jensen used his status as an employee of the hotel defendants to host local chapter meetings of the North America Man/Boy Love Association — or NAMBLA — in Langley and Aldergrove.
“NAMBLA is a pedophilia and pederasty advocacy organization,” the claim said.
The claim said the defendants individually or collectively knew or ought to have known the risks Jensen posed to children in his care but failed to take steps to prevent harm.
The claim notes 28 areas of injury, including depression, PTSD, homelessness, anger, work instability, diminished educational capacity, substance use problems, low self-esteem, nightmares and sexual dysfunction.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Scouts Canada response
Scouts Canada said in a statement to Glacier Media that it was made aware of allegations of abuse by Jensen through a civil claim in the
"At this time the injured party was offered counselling and any other support that may be required," Scouts Canada said. "Since this matter is currently in legal proceedings, we are unable to comment on directly on the claim."
And, the statement said, nothing is more important to Scouts Canada than the safety of the youth in its care.
"Our youth protection policies have been significantly enhanced over the past 40 years," the statement said. "Our volunteers are required to complete rigorous training and police screening procedures before they are allowed to work with youth, including undergoing a police records check every three years. Additionally, our two-Scouter rule prohibits one-on-one activities between volunteers and youth."
School board response
Spokesperson Patricia MacNeil said the Vancouver School Board (VSB) cannot speak to the case particulars out of respect for the court process.
“The VSB’s utmost priority is the safety and well-being of students,” MacNeil said. “Every step is taken to safeguard such. There are processes in place for educators and others charged with a duty-of-care to report concerns/suspected incidents.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, help is available.
- In an emergency, call 9-1-1
- In a crisis, call 1-800-563-0808
- To report a person under 19 who needs protection to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, call 310-1234 (no area code required)
You can find a full list of resources on the B.C. government’s website.