More than 800 men have accused the Boy Scouts of America organization and hundreds of individual scout leaders of sexual abuse, and many of those men have begun to file lawsuits seeking compensation.
On Monday a Pennsylvania man identified as S.D. moved forward with a claim that an assistant scoutmaster had molested him dozens of times over a five-year period, both at the scoutmaster’s home and at camp. This particular man was twelve years old when the attacks started, but it is anticipated that hundreds more will be filing similar suits saying they were abused by scout leaders when they were children involved in the non-profit group.
According to a spokesperson for the men, sexual abuse victims have come forward from all across the country accusing the organization of hiding predatory behavior and pedophilia among its leaders. “There is a crisis in the Boy Scouts, and there has been for many years, many decades — in fact, since the early 1900s.” The men who were victims point to “ineligible volunteer files” put together by the organization between 1944 and 2016. The Oregon Supreme Court ordered those files released in 2012, revealing that Boy Scouts of America had collected the names of 7,819 alleged sexual abusers and 12,254 alleged victims.
Sexual Abuse Victims Have Different Time Lines for Filing Suit
Victims of child sexual abuse have different timelines for when they can file suit against the Boy Scouts of America and the individual scout leaders, depending upon the state where the abuse took place. In New York, there were several lawsuits filed on Wednesday, immediately after the state’s new Child Victims Act took effect. That law established a one year “look back” window for victims of past child sex abuse to file suit regardless of when the abuse occurred. In Pennsylvania, there is no such look-back period, but the allegation that the organization is attempting to conceal the names of abusers can make the statute of limitations begin when the abuse is revealed. Other states have passed laws that extend the period of time in which victims of child sexual abuse can come forward.
Though the Boy Scouts of America has released a statement saying, “We believe victims and remove individuals based on only allegations of inappropriate behavior,” the organization has a history of only taking internal action not to allow a scoutmaster or volunteer to reenlist. There is no history of contacting law enforcement.