claims have plagued the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for several years. Ironically, a household name that bills itself as an organization with high standards of morality is now the target of tens of thousands of .
As a result, the BSA filed for in February 2020.
At around the same time, the national organization estimated it might face around 5,000 cases. To date, it faces more than 80,000.
Scouts who were sexually victimized are now filing lawsuits alleging childhood trauma and the subsequent emotional they had to live with for decades.
Why did the Boy Scouts file for ?
The Boy Scouts sought in 2020 to settle several lawsuits and compensate thousands of men who said they suffered from as Scouts at the hands of their former Scoutmasters and other leaders.
The 111-year-old organization turned to when states like New York, New Jersey, and California suspended statutes of limitations on claims. The number of claimants has since then grown into tens of thousands, regardless of when the happened.
The insurance companies argued that the organization knew about the but did nothing to prevent it. As such, the BSA should be the only one liable for these cases. According to the insurers, the group was aware of the problem and could’ve taken action.
This left the . This involves the debtor proposing a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time. with the possibility of having to fund any settlements on its own. Specifically, the group filed for
Decades of Covering Up
The problem of within the organization has always been there. In fact, courts have found evidence that leadership knew about the extent of the problem, but chose to cover up these cases by firing the alleged without reporting the claims to the police.
In 2012, the Los Angeles Times published a list of over 7,000 Scoutmasters and other leaders involved in accusations of child molestation. This internal list is known within the Scouts as the “.” The files go back to 1944 and also include the names of more than 12,000 victims.
These figures reveal a epidemic within the organization. But instead of taking action, the BSA actively sought to hide the criminal acts from the public.
In the majority of the cases the LA Times investigated, they reported that there were no records of Scouting officials reporting the claims to the police.
Moreover, even after the TIME said her son was abused in 2018, years after the files were made public. were published, boys continued to be preyed on. In one account, a mother who spoke to
Long-Term Effects of
can leave victims with life-changing damage. The trauma can manifest itself physically as well as emotionally.
Survivors often have to suffer from a plethora of long-term symptoms, including:
- Eating disorders
- Dissociative patterns
- Sexual problems
- Relationship problems
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Depression is the most common long-term symptom among . Years of negative self-thoughts can leave survivors with feelings of worthlessness. As a result, they tend to avoid others as they think they have nothing to offer.
Moreover, when the is done by someone who’s deemed an authority or trusted adult by the child, it may be hard for the youngster to view the predator in a negative light.
As a result, the survivor blames themselves instead for what happened. Needless to say, these effects can remain in survivors for a very long time.
One 65-year-old NBC News that he was “gratified that the Boy Scouts are taking responsibility for the that occurred to me and others that we have had to live with for decades.” who lives in the New York area told
Boy Scouts Reach Historic
The Boy Scouts of America recently reached an $850 million with tens of thousands of plaintiffs who said they were sexually abused while they were still Scouts and later filed a against the . The settlement is the largest in a in United States history.
The ruling by U.S. Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein means that the BSA can now proceed with its reorganization plan to exit and compensate claimants. But the group should still obtain formal approval from creditors to move ahead with the deal. These include the majority of the victims, who generally supported the settlement.
The historic would also protect BSA and around 250 of its local councils from future lawsuits.
Complex Could Leave Churches Liable for Future Suits
It’s important to note that the million-dollar deal only included the BSA’s local councils. But it didn’t cover the over 40,000 organizations that help BSA run thousands of scout units. These include major religious groups that are now reconsidering whether to continue involvement in scouting.
The issue is that thousands of churches fear that they could be affected by future lawsuits. The only way for , including churches, to gain some protection from liability for cases that occurred before 1976, is for them to make contributions to the .
But some of these churches find it unfair that they now possibly face liability because of the misconduct committed by leaders who had no connections to their parish.
This, however, brings us to another issue: the debate on whether the churches also had a role to play in the .
Some churches argue that they only provided a venue where scout units could gather and scout leaders had the say in hiring people, which could’ve led to . However, lawyers who represent the plaintiffs disagree. According to them, leaders were often involved as well in hiring decisions.
Putting a Price Tag on Pain
Several critics slammed the Boy Scouts’ offers. The proposal filed by the organization uses a matrix that describes a scale based on the type of that took place and the state where it happened.
But in such cases, we know how disturbing the details of categories of can be. For instance, a claim of “touching unclothed” would entitle a survivor to about twice as much as a claim of “touching clothed” in Washington, according to the documents.
A Washington survivor who was molested unclothed could receive a meager $9,000 under the proposal. But seeing how victims of such acts have suffered in silence for several years, putting an amount on their pain could be devastating.
Especially when you think of survivors for whom there’s no lasting cure, only a lifetime of having to deal with the pain and trauma.