More than 95,000 people filed sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America. Now the organization must reach a settlement in its ongoing bankruptcy case in these cases by next summer or risk being unable to operate. The total number of cases was announced in November after a deadline passed for victims to come forward as part of the organization’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The staggering number of claims exceeded the expectation of lawyers.
Decades of Assaults
The sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts detailed decades of assaults at the hands of scout leaders and others involved in the program. The number of claims filed has eclipsed the number of sex abuse claims filed against the Catholic Church. It is believed that the number of claims filed may only be a fraction of the actual victims. The accusers range in age from 9 to 83. The majority of them are men, but some women have also come forward.
The organization, which was founded in 1910, was formed to spread the values of patriotism, self-reliance, and kindred virtues among American boys. Scouts learn about obedience and loyalty and recite an oath to stay morally straight. More than 130 million Americans have been a part of the Boy Scout program, including leaders such as John F. Kennedy and astronaut Neil Armstrong. The organization currently has 2.2 million members, but numbers have been on the decline.
Problems with child sex abuse are not new to the Boy Scouts. Records from the early days of the organization have been found at Boy Scout headquarters. More recently, in 2010, the Boy Scouts lost a lawsuit and were ordered to pay over $18 million in punitive damages. The court ordered that records be unsealed.
Now that many states have laws permitting older cases to be filed, cases that are decades old are now seeing the light of day. Older victims are coming forward in states such as New York now that a lookback statute has been put into place. Victims say that they are filing cases in an effort to hold the Boy Scouts accountable, not just for financial compensation. They are hopeful that the number of claims is eye-opening and results in lasting changes within the organization.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been the victim of child sexual abuse, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Gregg Goldfarb has been helping accident victims for over 25 years, and he’s here to help you. Contact us online or call us at 305-374-7000 to schedule a free consultation.