Former Chicago scoutmaster Thomas Hacker named in sex abuse lawsuit

August 7, 2013 (CHICAGO)

More than a dozen former Boy Scouts have joined the suit, even though the former scoutmaster is already behind bars.

Thomas Hacker has been in prison for years. Lawyers say he may be one of the Boy Scouts most prolific pedophiles.

Although he's listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, the attorney who filed it says the suit isn't about Hacker. He says it's about exposing the Boy Scouts of America and preventing this kind of systematic abuse from ever happening again.

It's been over 24 years since Boy Scout leader Thomas Hacker walked free. Convicted of sexually abusing three boys from an Oak Lawn troop back in the 1980s, Hacker, now 76, will never again see the outside world.

But Hacker is named in a new lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America.

"I asked, 'Why the Boy Scouts?' He said, 'Well, because it was so easy.' No one ever asked him a question. No one ever asked for a reference. No one ever checked for the fact that he was a three-time convicted child molester," said Christopher Hurley, attorney.

Initially filed last December with just one plaintiff, the lawsuit has been expanded to include 15 more. All are now grown men, formally from Troop 1600 in Oak Lawn, who say they repressed memories of the abuse, until last fall, when the so-called perversion files were made public. The files are a collection of 1,200 previously secret files the Boy Scouts of America kept containing the names of known abusers who'd been part of the organization.

"He was in their perversion files for more than ten years before he joined Troop 1600 where he molested my clients," said Hurley.

In a statement the Boy Scouts of America Chicago Area Council said: "While we have not seen this lawsuit, we deeply regret that there have been times when Scouts were abused. . . In the 30 years since these events took place, the BSA has continuously enhanced its multi-tiered policies and procedures, which now include background checks, comprehensive training programs, and safety policies."

According to the lawsuit, in Illinois at least 70 scout leaders were placed in the Boy Scouts' files between 1965 and 1985. At least 23 of them were from Chicago.

This lawsuit is just one of several that have been filed against the Boy Scouts since the files became public.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.