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Sex Abuse Case Against Fire Dept. Resolved

Feb 26, 2010

The Spence Law Firm, LLC, has resolved a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of sixteen Wyoming men who claimed they were molested by former Campbell County fire chief Gary Scott. Most of the victims were cadets in the 1990's and 2000's volunteering at the fire department's youth program when they were sexually assaulted and abused. The Spence Law Firm and the Michaels & Michaels law firm of Gillette, Wyoming, represented the victims for their civil rights case against the government, including the fire department and related government entities.

R. Daniel Fleck, of The Spence Law Firm, LLC, was satisfied with the result: "we wanted to hold the government accountable for violating these young boys' constitutional rights. Our government must do better to protect kids from sexual predators like this.Every person in this country has the right to be free from sexual harassment and sexual assault."

R. Daniel Fleck and Tyson E. Logan of The Spence Law Firm, LLC, and Gillette attorneys Jeremy Michaels and Deborah Michaels, represented the victims against the Fire Department, the Campbell County Joint Powers Board, and related entities. Attorneys for the plaintiffs (Victims 1-16) filed a civil rights lawsuit in November of 2009. The suit alleged claims against the Fire Department and Joint Powers Board (among other things) that the Joint Powers Fire Board ignored written policies that should have prevented the Fire Chief from being alone at appropriate times and in inappropriate places with the young boys.

The suit further alleged that the Board reviewed and approved travel expense reports for trips the Chief took alone with adolescent boys across the country (where they were molested in hotel rooms) from 1992-2007.

Section 1983 civil rights cases against governmental entities are an especially complex area of the law, based in constitutional protections afforded to all individuals. The civil rights complaint filed on behalf of Victims 1-16 alleged five separate counts against the defendants, including allegations that the defendants had unconstitutional policies and customs by creating and acquiescing in a known and obvious risk by allowing and paying for the chief to be alone with adolescent boys; failure to supervise; liability for the fire chief's conduct in his official capacity as a policymaker for the fire department; liability of the fire chief in his individual capacity; and state law negligence claims against the defendants.

The lawsuit sought unspecified damages including punitive damages for the alleged 1000+ incidents of sexual abuse on the victims. The parties reached an agreement to resolve the case before trial. Terms of the agreement are confidential.

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