Amid mounting pressures, the Boy Scouts of America has hinted that the organization may consider bankruptcy to protect it from a flood of lawsuits.
The suits come in the wake of recent research which shows that as many as 12,200 current and former Scouts have been abused by 7,819 troop leaders and other volunteers.
Shockingly, even those numbers likely underestimate how many molesters infiltrated the Boy Scouts’ ranks since the mid-1940s. Experts suspect many instances of sexual abuse were never reported and many of those accused were connected to multiple abuse victims.
In addition, the Boy Scouts have admitted destroying an unknown number of files over the years. This admission comes despite the fact that the Scouts acknowledge maintaining a database of ineligible volunteers. Referred to as the “perversion files,” this blacklist contains the names of troop leaders accused of, or suspected of, sexually abusing young boys within their troop.
The Scouts have fought in court to keep the perversion files from public view, arguing that confidentiality was needed to protect victims, witnesses, and anyone falsely accused.
Mounting Pressure Brings New Legislation
Now, two states – New York and New Jersey – have extended their statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse lawsuits, opening the Scouts to a potential onslaught of new lawsuits. Similar legislation is now pending in California.
In addition, a yearlong examination of files by The Los Angeles Times found that the Boy Scouts failed to report accusations in hundreds of cases to the authorities, and often hid allegations from parents and the public. In more than 125 cases, the Times learned that men allegedly continued to molest young boys even after charges of abusive behavior were presented to the Scouts.
Given its looming liabilities, the Boy Scouts are considering filing for bankruptcy protection. Doing so would mean new abuse claims would no longer be handled in state courts, while those filing claims would have to get in line with other creditors.
What to Do If You Are a Victim
With the Boy Scouts still undecided on bankruptcy, it’s more important than ever to take action now if you were a victim of sexual abuse while a member of the Scouts or if you suspect a loved one may have been abused. The Scouts currently have assets totaling more than $1 billion. Act today by contacting our experienced Boy Scout abuse attorneys at 800-730-7111. Consultations are always free. If we represent you or your loved one, you pay nothing unless we win.