Six children who were sexually abused by a Lehigh County youth director of a medieval history society filed a federal complaint yesterday alleging the organization failed to take adequate precautions to safeguard children from predators.
The civil complaint filed in federal court in Philadelphia stems from the conviction of Benjamin Schragger, 45, who in 2004 pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, child rape, indecent assault and related counts. He will not be eligible for parole for about 30 years.
The four boys and two girls are seeking unspecified damages from the Society for Creative Anachronism. Schragger was known as "Lord Ben the Steward" to the dozens of children he mentored over the years.
The Society for Creative Anachronism, which has its headquarters in Milpitas, Calif., said in a statement that society officials and employees had "no prior knowledge of the misconduct and . . . never received any complaints from anyone regarding Mr. Schragger prior to his arrest." Schragger was suspended upon his arrest and his membership permanently revoked following his guilty plea, the group said. - AP