The parents of a 13-year-old boy have sued the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America in a Harris County state district court alleging their son was assaulted by older scouts on a camping trip, including threats that he was going to be “waterboarded” before being knocked unconscious by a punch to the face.
Smoot and Paige Hull allege in Hull v. Boy Scouts of America that their son, PH, suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the 2016 attack, which occurred while he was returning from a Boy Scout camping trip on a chartered bus.
Specifically, the parents allege that the Boy Scouts committed negligence and gross negligence by failing to properly supervise the camping trip’s chartered bus ride and failing to follow their own internal safety policies and procedures.
“This assault knocked PH unconscious, and he fell to the ground and hit his head,” the petition alleges. “Despite having ample opportunity to do so, the adult Scout leaders on the bus never intervened.”
The petition also alleges the Boy Scouts attempted to cover up the assault after an adult Scout leader called PH’s father and told him there had been an incident on the bus and PH had “blacked out” due to dehydration.
The Boy Scouts later took action after one of PH’s fellow scouts spoke up, but the organization allegedly refused to officially report the assault, according to the petition.
“We anticipate showing that scouting understood the severe safety problems that could result from not following their own procedures and policies which is what we believe occurred here,” said Joel Simon, a partner in Houston’s Fernelius Simon, who represents the Hulls in the case. “We believe the evidence will ultimately show there was not the proper amount of adults on the bus at the time and/or the adults on the bus were not properly supervising the bus at the time.”
According to a statement released by the Boy Scouts of America, the people involved in the incident have been removed from the organization.
“The behavior included in these allegations is unacceptable and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands,” according to the Boy Scouts’ statement. “Those alleged to have caused the incident have been removed and prohibited from any future participation in our programs.”