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Plaintiffs withdraw lawsuit against Boy Scouts, First Baptist Church alleging sexual abuse
Defendant's attorney says suit could be refiled and 'we will be vigorously defending again for the church'
Fleming Weaver

The plaintiffs’ attorneys in cases alleging sexual abuse by a former Gainesville scoutmaster have voluntarily filed to dismiss the case.

The four cases filed in Cobb County Superior Court concerning the Boy Scouts of America and First Baptist Church of Gainesville are considered closed as of Oct. 10, according to the court’s database.

The Times reached out to the plaintiffs’ attorneys but did not receive a comment regarding why they asked for the voluntary dismissals.

But an attorney for the church hinted that the lawsuit could be refiled.

“Right now, the case can be reinstated,” the church’s attorney Dennis Cathey said Thursday, Oct. 17.

Royal Fleming Weaver Jr. was the subject of a lawsuit filed in June 2016 in Cobb County Superior Court by Robert William Lawson III. Lawson claimed he was raped by Weaver during an Order of the Arrow scouting event in 1985.

Three more cases alleging sexual abuse by Weaver were filed the following year in Cobb County Superior Court.

Weaver was the former Gainesville scoutmaster of Troop 26, based at First Baptist Church of Gainesville, from 1969 to 1981.

In addition to the Boy Scouts, Weaver and the church, the lawsuit names former First Baptist pastor Steven Brown, the Northeast Georgia Council and the estate of Gene Bobo, who served in council leadership.

The defendants have previously argued that the claims are time-barred by the statute of limitations.

The Hall County District Attorney’s Office investigated Weaver in 1994, when a 38-year-old man told authorities he was molested as a child with the Boy Scouts.

That year District Attorney Lydia Sartain also ruled that the allegations were “barred by the statute of limitations.” Weaver “admitted that he had sexually abused five victims during the time they were in his Scout troop,” according to an investigative file obtained by The Times.

The notice of voluntary dismissals were filed before a scheduled status conference on Monday, Oct. 14.

Cathey said he will continue to monitor the situation.

“If it is filed again, we will be vigorously defending again for the church,” Cathey said.

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