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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of abuse from someone at the Boy Scouts of America, please contact us today at (314) 888-1000.