HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s second-highest court ruled Monday that the Boy Scouts of America and a local council of the group aren’t liable for a former scouting leader’s sexual molestation of a boy.

The Appellate Court panel issued a 3-0 ruling that upheld a lower court decision in favor of the national organization and the Connecticut Rivers Council chapter, which argued they couldn’t be held responsible for the abuse by former Tolland resident James W. Harris III.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed by a man who said Harris sexually abused him numerous times between 2001 and 2007, starting when he was a 10-year-old Cub Scout and after Harris became his stepfather. Claims against Harris in the lawsuit remain pending.

Harris was sentenced to 15 years in prison in March 2009 after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting the boy and two other children.

The victim, now in his early 20s, alleged in the lawsuit that the Boy Scouts of America and the Connecticut Rivers Council had a duty to protect youths in their organizations and failed to shield him from Harris’ abuse. The council provides scouting programs in 127 of Connecticut’s 169 towns.

His lawyer, Frank Bartlett Jr., said his client will decide whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court. He said former Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca, who retired in 2012, has said that the organization has a duty to protect children.

An attorney for the Boy Scouts didn’t return a message Monday.

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