There have been whispers of sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for years. Several arrests and convictions of BSA leaders may have occurred through the years; however, the landmark court case in 2010 detailed how the sex abuse was discovered, according to Reuters.
Boy Scouts Kept Records of “Ineligible Volunteers” for Decades
In 2010, six former scouts filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for alleged sexual abuse in the 1980s. The plaintiffs won the suit, with awarded damages averaging about $20 million, according to the
Associated Press (AP). Equally important, this landmark lawsuit forced the BSA to release thousands of pages of documents kept under lock and key in their Texas headquarters.
These secret files of so-called “ineligible volunteers” revealed the names of thousands of alleged abusers and victims. The files contained more than 20 years of alleged sexual abuse, many that took place at the BSA organization. More secret files have come to light, with alleged sexual abuse as far back even farther.
Alleged Coverup About Sexual Abuse
Each revelation about the BSA decades of sexual abuse and apparent coverup sent shockwaves throughout the nation. After all, the BSA had enjoyed, for the most part, a wholesome reputation as one of the largest youth organizations in the country.
Now we know that there was a pattern of alleged sexual abuse from scout leaders who were entrusted with the safety and well-being of thousands of youngsters. As each piece of horrific information became public, many of those affected by sexual abuse in the BSA have come forward.
How the BSA Is Liable for Alleged Sexual Abuse
Each sexual abuse survivor has a unique story, but there are elements that establish liability on the part of the alleged abuser and the BSA organization:
- The existence of these locked and confidential files refutes the denials by BSA of a coordinated and widespread coverup.
- The BSA did not report the alleged sexual abuse acts. They did not apparently contact the police, nor did they inform scout members and parents.
- The BSA has a direct responsibility for its staff, volunteers, and representatives to protect the safety and well-being of its members.
The BSA confidential files revealed the identities of thousands of victims and their alleged abusers; however, some of these acts took place decades ago. Some abusers have passed away. In those cases, the BSA may be held liable for the injuries caused by scout and troop leaders.
Why Boy Scout Members Are Suing Now
While the emotional scars from sexual abuse may not fully dissipate with time, the law unfortunately has a deadline for legal action.
Some states, including New York and California, have extended, or suspended, the requirements on its statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits. This provides an extended window of opportunity for sexual abuse survivors to hold their abusers accountable.
Other states have not changed the deadline for lawsuits. An action by the BSA in February of 2020 may provide an opportunity for victims to sue for financial recovery and justice.
Boy Scouts Filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
As waves of new information about years of alleged sexual abuse became public, followed by hundreds of lawsuits, the BSA began losing donations and members. As a nonprofit organization, the BSA relies almost entirely on private sponsorships, donations, memberships, and fundraising to pay for its operation.
In February of 2020, the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to BBC News. Regardless of the organization filing bankruptcy, they established a fund to pay legal fees and damages for sexual abuse lawsuits.
Thought a settlement will not erase the tragedy that resulted from someone’s heinous abuse, it may help you cope with any physical or emotional losses you have had to endure because of the abuse.
You May Be Entitled to Financial Recovery
Ever since the sex abuse was discovered, thousands of former scout members have felt emboldened to finally break their silence. If you were affected by sexual abuse in the BSA organization, you could be entitled to recovery and justice from all liable parties.
We understand moving forward with a case of this nature can cause tension and turmoil, but you do not need to suffer the consequences of someone’s abuse without taking legal action. You also have a right to legal representation for a lawsuit brought against the BSA or the perpetrator.
We invite you to call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ today for a free case evaluation by dialing (713) 850-8600.