Deadline to file sex abuse claims against Boy Scouts of America ends Monday – Fox News
The Boy Scouts of America face tens of thousands of sex-abuse claims as Monday signals the final day to file further claims, according to reports.
The century-old organization already faces around 82,000 claims filed over the past year, the New York Times reported.
Even that number is likely only a fraction of the overall cases of pedophilia and abuse that have shadowed the organization since shortly after its founding in 1910.
The Monday deadline, known as a “bar date,” was set back in February when the Boy Scouts filed for Chapter 11 protection. Any claimant can file a sex-abuse case against the group by 2 p.m. PST.
Cases have flooded in from all 50 states in the country, detailing a variety of abuses. Accusers range from ages 8 to 93, with even some women filing complaints.
“I knew there were a lot of cases,” Paul Mones, a lawyer who has worked on Boy Scouts cases for nearly two decades, told the Times. “I never contemplated it would be a number close to this.”
The sheer volume of claims dwarfs the number filed in over 20 Catholic Church bankruptcy cases, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“We are devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in scouting and moved by the bravery of those who came forward,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement. “We intentionally developed an open, accessible process to reach survivors and help them take an essential step toward receiving compensation. The response we have seen from survivors has been gut-wrenching. We are deeply sorry.”
The Boy Scouts maintained records on decades of abuse, referred to as “ineligible-volunteer files,” which totaled around 7,800 cases – a mere drop compared to the claims filed this year.
The group filed for bankruptcy after hundreds of new lawsuits were lodged against it. In the wake of other sex-abuse revelations in recent years, the filing encouraged more victims to step forward.
“There’s also been a steady and increased consciousness in the country of sexual abuse, and those things collided,” Mr. Mones said.
The volume of cases threatens to completely bury the Boy Scouts, possibly ending the organization once and for all, according to the Seattle Times.
“It was a disastrous decision,” Michael Pfau, a Seattle attorney who co-represents more than 1,000 sexual-abuse claimants, said of the BSA’s bankruptcy filing.
“They thought they could get in, get out, limit their liability and protect their local organizations,” he said. “But they grossly underestimated the level of abuse in scouting. Instead, it’s now crystal clear that the Boy Scouts of America probably has the largest number of sexual abusers of any institution in our country, ever.”