More than 82,000 people have come forward with sexual-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America, describing decades of assaults at the hands of scout leaders across the country who were trusted as role models.
The claim that attorneys eclipsed the number of misconduct charges filed in Catholic Church cases continued to advance a Monday deadline set up in bankruptcy court in Delaware, where Boy Scouts sought to keep the demands alive. The year was sought asylum. For loss.
Paul Mons, a lawyer who had been working on the Boy Scouts cases for nearly two decades, said the widespread abuse prevalence in the filings was breathtaking and may reflect only a fraction of the victims.
“I knew there were a lot of cases,” Mr. Mons said. “I never considered that it would be number one.”
A coalition of lawyers, working as a group abused in scouting, has clients from all 50 states, as well as cases in which the abuse occurred overseas in places such as military bases in Japan and Germany. The age of the accused is between 8 and 93. While most of the men are male, some women have also lodged complaints.
The avalanche of claims, 82,663 of them as of late Sunday night, set up a monumental task for the bankruptcy case as the Boy Scouts emerge with their operations for a day.
Although the national organization has more than $ 1 billion in assets, according to its bankruptcy filing, the organization also has a network of local Boy Scout councils that own hundreds of camps and other properties across the country where the Scouts lakeside Can advance their skills and values. In the coasts and mountain valleys.
As the Boy Scouts sought to reorganize and establish the victims’ compensation fund under the Chapter 11 filing, a judge set Monday as the deadline for claims for victims who would eventually undergo a vetting process .
In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America said the organization was “devastated by the number of lives affected by past abuses in scouting.” The organization said it had sought an accessible process to seek compensation for survivors.
“The reaction we have seen from survivors is horrific,” the organization said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry.”
Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts evolved in 1916 under a rare congressional charter that incorporated elaborate scouting values of “patriotism, courage, self-reliance and compassionate qualities” – goals that have held civic ideals for generations of American boys Shaped.
From an early age, young scouts learn about obedience and loyalty, vowing to remain “morally upright”. The organization has said that some 130 million Americans have gone through its programs over the years, including John F. Kennedy, astronaut Neil Armstrong, civil rights icon Ernest Green, and film director Steven Spielberg.
While the Boy Scouts count some 2.2 million current members, those numbers have declined from a peak of around five million in the 1970s. In 2017, the organization expanded to allow girls to participate, although that effort has severed relationships with Girl Scouts of the USA
But even in the early years of the organization, misused files at Boy Scouts headquarters maintain elaborate troubles. In 1935, the organization gave files to hundreds of “fallen” people who worked as scout leaders, according to a New York Times article at the time.
Lawyers, including Mr. Mons, later pressured him to release some of those files in a case in Oregon, where a 2010 jury held the scouts liable for $ 18.5 million in punitive damages. The Oregon Supreme Court later ordered that the case records be made public.
Although many abuse cases occurred in previous decades, in recent years some states have passed legislation to advance accountability in courts to older victims. It also includes New York, which approved a one-year window opened last year, creating a stream of new lawsuits with defendants from organizations such as schools, the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts.
Terry McKiernan, president of BishopAcountability.org, a watchdog group tracking abuse in the Catholic Church, said more than 9,000 victims had come forward over the years, although they believed the number only represented a small fraction of those Those who have suffered abuse. Church.
Frank Spinelli was on Staten Island at the age of 11 when he joined the Boy Scouts in 1978. He said his scoutmaster, a police officer named Bill Fox, started grooming him, took him out for ice cream, pressurized Mr. Spinelli to sleep at his house and divert his conversation toward sex. It eventually led to three years of sexual abuse, Mr. Spinelli said.
Mr. Fox was eventually convicted of abusing the three boys and later died in prison.
Years ago, Mr. Spinelli said he contacted lawyers to talk about pursuing a case against the Boy Scouts, but he told them that the statute of limitations had long passed. But after New York approved its new look-back law, lawyers said they could now have a case. He is among those filing as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
Mr Spinelli said he was not surprised to see so many men coming forward with claims. He said that it was not something that was gratifying to see and that financial compensation was not an important thing for him. Instead, he said he hoped that the magnitude of the problem and the accountability in the bankruptcy process could help bring about a permanent change in Boy Scouts.
“I truly believe that it is these inconvenient conversations. We need to identify a path to move forward,” Mr. Spinelli said.