A child sex abuse scandal is currently embroiling the long-standing organization, the Boy Scouts of America, that spans several decades and includes nearly 8,000 accused abusers. According to files from the organization going back decades, the Boy Scouts have excluded thousands of volunteers from continuing with the organization because of accusations of sexual abuse. The organization was aware of the abuse during this time, and survivors can now claim reparations for their lasting harm.
The Boy Scout Child Sex Abuse Scandal
According to The New York Times, an expert witness from the University of Virginia, Professor Janet Warren, has revealed the extent of the scope of child sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts organization over the past several decades. During the past five years, Dr. Warren worked on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America to review data that the organization kept known as the “perversion files.” In these documents, the Boy Scouts detailed information about banned volunteers from the group who have committed acts of child sexual abuse against Boy Scouts members for decades.
From 1944 to 2016, the Boy Scouts kept these detailed perversion files within their organization. The organization named 7,819 perpetrators within the organization – and within this time span of 72 years, 12,254 Boy Scouts suffered sexual abuse at the hands of these trusted volunteers. Although the Boy Scouts knew about these instances of sexual abuse and reported allegations to police, the majority of Boy Scouts participants and families did not know the extent of this issue.
Approximately 2.2 million children and almost one million volunteers are involved in the Boy Scouts. The perversion files became public in 2012, when a court case against a Scout leader in Oregon revealed a portion of them during the trial. The testimony of Dr. Warren went unnoticed during her initial report, but it is rapidly gaining attention due to a child sexual abuse case against a children’s theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The files released in 2012 also indicate that the local prosecutors and even the local police officials offered protections to the leaders and volunteers who faced accusations of abuse. The justification of these officials was that the negative press would hurt the scouting organization as a whole – with little regard to how protecting the abusers would impact the victims. While the Boy Scouts have kept information about these abusers within their internal documents, they never alerted the community about these individuals who could be a danger to their children.
Now that the extent of child sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts is receiving the attention it needs, more and more survivors are coming forward. While criminal charges may be difficult to file in many of these cases, survivors of Boy Scouts sexual abuse may be able to file civil lawsuits against their abusers for compensatory damages. Survivors of Boy Scout sexual abuse should speak to an attorney as soon as possible to discuss their legal options.
What Is Child Sexual Abuse?
The sexual abuse of a child is a heinous crime that carries severe consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator. Child sexual abuse is any action that involves sexual activity with a minor under the age of 18. Children cannot consent to any form of sexual activity, and when abusers engage in sexual activity with a child, they are committing a serious crime. In addition, child sexual abuse can have traumatic impacts that will follow the victim for the rest of his or her life.
Child sexual abuse can include many different actions, not just physical contact between an abuser and a child. Child sexual abuse may include the following:
- Sexual intercourse with a child
- Fondling or touching the child in an inappropriate way
- Sex of any kind with a child, including oral, anal, and vaginal
- Sex trafficking
- Masturbation in the presence of a minor
- Forcing a child to masturbate
- Producing, sharing, or owning child pornography
- Obscene phone calls
- Sending obscene text or social media messages to a child
Any adult can perpetuate an act of child sexual abuse. Abusers can be both men and women, and can be in a position of power to coerce a child into sexual activity. According to the anti-rape organization RAINN, as many as 93% of children who suffer from child sexual abuse know their abuser. In the case of the Boy Scout sexual abuse cases, both leaders and volunteers used their positions of power to manipulate and force children into traumatic, violent situations. If you are a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a Boy Scouts volunteer, help is available.
How Does Child Sexual Abuse Impact Survivors?
Child sexual abuse can have a severe impact on a child’s physical, mental, and emotional health for the rest of their lives. The impacts of these crimes can result in extreme consequences and are difficult to overcome, often requiring professional therapy and medications. According to Psychology Today, common impacts of child sexual abuse may include the following conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse
- Depression and anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Hypersexuality and promiscuity
- Difficulty engaging in healthy sexual relationships
- Avoidance of sexual activities
- Poor self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
- Withdrawal and a mistrust of adults and authority figures
- Sleep problems, nightmares, and fear of sleep
- Extreme fear of touching
- Obsessive compulsive disorder and the development of phobias
What Can Survivors of Boy Scouts’ Child Sexual Abuse Do Now?
If you are a victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of a Boy Scouts volunteer or leader, legal options may be available to you. One of the biggest barriers to seeking reparations is the statute of limitations, or the length of time you can bring a criminal charge or lawsuit against someone who caused you harm. Different states have different statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse – contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today to discuss what legal options are available in your state.
Even if your abuser has already spent time in prison for their crimes or if the statute of limitations for pressing criminal charges against them has already passed, you could claim compensatory damages through a child sexual abuse lawsuit. When you file a lawsuit in your state’s civil court, you can receive compensatory damages for the injuries you suffered as a result of the sexual abuse – compensation for mental health medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
If you are a victim of Boy Scout child sexual abuse, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. Our attorneys have represented clients across the country in their sexual abuse lawsuits. Contact us today to receive your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.