Boy Scouts of America Lawsuit | BSA Lawyer
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) organization is being sued over sexual abuse claims levied against scout masters and BSA volunteers. Our law firm is handling lawsuits against this organization for those who were sexually abused by BSA scout masters or other trusted elders who worked in scouting programs.
In the summer of 2019, as lawsuits were being filed on behalf of those who alleged that they were sexually abused by scout masters, more than 800 men came forward with accusations that they were sexually abused as scouts enlisted in the Boy Scouts of America. Some 4,700 men contacted attorneys when the story broke on MSNBC last year.
Thousands of Boy Scout Victims
A lawsuit filed in August 2019 identified 350 abusive scout masters and BSA volunteers. The 800 whom they have been accused of abusing is likely a very low estimate of the actual number of BSA abuse victims.
The FBI has estimated that each perpetrator abused 100 boys, which means that at least 35,000 BSA victims have yet to file claims. That figure is likely much higher still, because more than 120 million children have gone through the BSA program since it was founded more than 100 years ago.
BSA Pedophilia Epidemic
Those now alleging abuse at the hands of the Boy Scouts of America range in age from 16 to 97. A “pedophilia epidemic” is how the BSA sex abuse problem has been described in one lawsuit.
BSA: “We believe the victims”
The Boy Scouts of America stands accused of hiding its sex abuse problems for decades in order to protect abusers and the organization. BSA has recognized its pedophile problem for decades, despite only recently admitting knowledge of it. A BSA spokesman apologized last year as the lawsuits and allegations broke out in national news: “We believe the victims and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in scouting.”
The attorneys who filed suit last summer said that they have another 150 names where they have only partial identification of a perpetrator. They also say the BSA “perversion files” are incomplete.
“It is only because of the courage of the men coming forward now and identifying the abusers that we know who they are,” said attorney David Matthews.
BSA Fails to Weed Out Pedophiles
The lawsuits state that BSA failed to vet the scoutmasters and others responsible for the care of their children, despite knowing of the problem for at least 100 years. Indeed, the BSA has been removing the abusers since 1916.
BSA Perversion Files Coverup
Since the 1920s, BSA has kept files of known or accused perpetrators, which BSA called ineligible volunteer files or IV files. BSA previously called them the Perpetrator files or P files, which softened or euphemized the term.
BSA perversion files dating back to the 1940s list some 7,819 suspects and 12,254 victims, most of whom were molested by scout leaders on camping trips.
In 1935, a New York Times story revealed that the BSA had created a red-flag list that named 900 men removed for “moral perversion.” Since that time, at least 50,000 of the perversion files that covered decades of abuse were destroyed by BSA, sometime in the 1970s, according to court documents.
Last year, as BSA continued to resist the release of more of its perversion files, a list of some 1,900 men was published online, a list of men suspected or convicted of sexually abusing children.
Despite the BSA’s massive file destruction, more than 6,00 files remain today. More than 20,000 pages of those files have been posted online, with names redacted, under a court order from Oregon.
BSA Bankruptcy Filing
The BSA has filed bankruptcy in an attempt to “stay” litigation and protect its assets from victims seeking compensation. However, the organization may not be able to hide behind its bankruptcy filing.
From what we have gathered so far, the Boy Scouts of America National Organization in Texas is the only BSA entity that has filed for bankruptcy. That move was meant to stop lawsuits the BSA will likely be facing in state courts across the country, especially in California, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii – states which have opened a window for legislation. Those states and some others have made or proposed changes in their laws in order to open a window of opportunity for those who claim to have been sexually abused as minors while in the care of the Boy Scouts of America, the Catholic church, and other (once) trusted institutions.
Filed in Delaware, the BSA’s bankruptcy filing also asked the court to issue a “bar” date, a statute of limitations that would likely be shorter than many of the individual states’ current statutes of limitations. The bankruptcy could also help BSA force the hand of insurance companies to see what they will do in terms of providing funds to assist BSA to pay for abuse claims. At some point, the organization’s assets will be determined by the bankruptcy judge.
On the plus side for victims, the bankruptcy could possibly speed up the litigation process; but it is too early, at this date, to tell what the overall effect of the bankruptcy filing will be.
The only thing that seems certain about the BSA’s bankruptcy filing is that it will bring heated legal dispute. The BSA filing specifically did not include the organization’s local councils, which have their own assets – such as camps, properties, and buildings. The BSA filing failed to include the assets of local councils.
By itself, the BSA possesses assets — outside of its local councils’ assets — worth between $1 billion and $10 billion.
The plaintiff’s side for victims will argue that the local BSA councils belong to the national organization, and that the assets of the local councils belong to the national organization. To that end, the national organization has complete control of the local councils. BSA bylaws also include the local councils.
In point of fact, the BSA has borrowed money using the collateral of its local councils. Therefore, the national BSA organization should have a difficult time trying to separate its assets from those of its local councils.
In addition, it is yet to be determined whether the “stay” in the bankruptcy applies to local councils. Much has yet to be determined in the BSA national’s bankruptcy filing.
Hiding behind Bankruptcy
One BSA victim told the press at a conference last summer: “I don’t think it’s right for anybody to hide behind a bankruptcy to get away from something.”
Indeed, it would seem to be a tragic miscarriage of justice if BSA were allowed to hide behind its very dubious bankruptcy filing.