PORTLAND -- Portland lawyer Kelly Clark, who won a landmark court decision forcing the Boy Scouts of America to release its perversion files on suspected child molesters in the organization, has died at 56.

His co-counsel in the Boy Scouts case, Paul Mones, said Clark died Tuesday of cancer-related causes at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Clark represented the victims of child molestation in suits against the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America.

In 2012, a suit he brought forced the Boy Scouts to release more than 1,200 files it kept on suspected abusers.

Two years before, he represented an Oregon man abused as a Boy Scout in Portland in the early 1980s and won an award of nearly $20 million.

Upon news of Clark's passing, a spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests released the following statement:

Kelly Clark was among the most compassionate men I've ever met and one of the most effective advocates for abuse victims. Kelly always saw the big picture and put the needs of his clients - both short term and long term - ahead of every other consideration.

He was passionately committed to using civil litigation to protect kids, prevent crimes, deter cover ups and expose those who commit and conceal heinous child sexual abuse.

He could have taken more cases and won more money, if not for his dedication to revealing the truth about powerful individuals and institutions that hurt or endangered kids.

Many clergy sex abuse victims and advocates across the country were inspired by his courage and his compassion. Ours is a safer society for kids these days because of Kelly's giant heart and ground-breaking work.

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