Salt Lake County man files complaint against LDS Church, BSA, former Cub Scout leader

Thomas Mark Thackeray. Photo: Utah Department of Corrections

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 3, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah man who says he was sexually assaulted as a child by the Boy Scout leader of his ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has filed a complaint against the LDS Church Corporation, the Greater Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and Thomas Mark Thackeray, 72.

The complainant, now in his mid-30s and a Salt Lake County resident, says that in 1991, Thackeray was appointed by his LDS bishop as Cub Scout leader in his Syracuse ward of the LDS Church, and assaulted the complainant on numerous occasions over a period of years.

The abuse began in 1991 when the victim was 7, according to the complaint, which seeks a jury trial in the case. The complaint also asks that the statute of limitations, now expired, be waived due to special circumstances.

The complaint states that in the summer of 1991, at a den meeting, the victim witnessed Thackery punching and slapping his adopted daughter, who was about 12, and the young boy intervened. The victim first verbally objected, then stepped between Thackeray and the girl, the statement says.

“In response, Thackeray grabbed (the victim), dragged him into a back room with a bed. There, in a state of anger, Thackeray proceeded to violently anally rape (the victim),” the statement says. The complainant “attempted to fight back; this resistance was futile, because of the significant size and weight differential.”

The abuse continued at every den meeting at which Thackeray was the only adult male present, the complaint says, adding that Thackeray would often use pressure points to force the complainant to his knees.

On occasion, Thackeray threatened the victim’s brothers with harm if the boy ever spoke of the abuse, the statement says. For this reason, the victim did not alert anyone to the abuse, the complaint says.

In 1992, Thackeray was arrested in Davis County and charged with distribution of pornography to a minor, and his time as a BSA den leader ended. The victim only learned of the arrest in the past few years, the complaint says.

“To (the victim’s) mind, Thackeray was still out there,” the statement says, adding that the victim “subconsciously continued to be afraid of Thackeray’s threats, and was unable to speak out about his abuse, lest harm should befall him and/or his siblings.”

In 2015, the victim’s memories of the earlier events were triggered, and he shared them with family members. In 2016, the victim learned Thackeray had recently been arrested, “… which was the first time, since being raped and sexually abused, that plaintiff realized that Thackeray could no longer hurt him,” the statement says.

The complaint argues that due to the victim’s young age, the threat his family would be hurt, and partially repressed memories, the statute of limitations should be waived.

The complaint states that the victim has suffered permanent emotional damage and partial loss of his ability to engage in gainful activity as a direct result of abuse by Thackeray, and his need for medical and psychological treatment will continue into the future.

Thackeray is currently incarcerated after convictions of stalking and dealing in materials harmful to a minor.


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