Sexual Abuse in the Boy Scouts of America Organization

Child Sexual Abuse Attorneys in New York

The Boy Scouts were typified by virtue-based activity founded upon life skills that would build the natural virtues as well as provide a lifetime of practical skills for every circumstance. The rugged skills learned by the young scouts attracted others and the Boy Scouts of America was born.

What began as American society’s solution to the problems posed by adolescence has turned into a national disgrace as well as the moral and financial bankruptcy of a cultural icon — the Boy Scouts of America recently filed for bankruptcy after spending the last few decades staving off sexual abuse lawsuits filed by scouts themselves against their scout leaders.

Contact Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP to speak with our legal team if you or a loved one suffered from sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America organization. We are available for free consultations via phone at (888) 260-0473, or you can reach us through our online contact form.

History of Abuse in the Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts’ own rules and regulations point to their own recognition that such a problem could arise. They had a two-deep rule and many other safeguards that should have prevented sexual abuse from happening. Yet, it happened anyway.

The two-deep rule states, “Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings. There must be a registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over in every unit serving females. A registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over must be present for any activity involving female youth. Notwithstanding the minimum leader requirements, age- and program-appropriate supervision must always be provided. All adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as leaders. The 72 hours need not be consecutive. One-on-one contact between adult leaders and youth members is prohibited both inside and outside of Scouting.”

Some abuse advocates lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of Scout leadership. Leaders allowed adults working with scouts to ignore the rules, particularly the two-deep rule. In 2010, a far more insidious fact was publicly revealed about the scouting organization. For decades, almost since its inception, the leaders of the Boy Scouts maintained “Perversion Files” a.k.a. “Ineligible Volunteer Files” which were secret files of scout leaders who had sexually abused minors or made them unsuited to mentor children. These files were confidential and kept out of the public eye for decades until a sexual abuse lawsuit revealed their existence. Once revealed, the public was stunned to learn that the Boy Scouts had kept such files on hundreds of adult volunteers who had abused children. In almost every instance, a Scout file was created but law enforcement was not notified. This allowed the problem to fester and grow implicating not only those who had committed the atrocities but Boy Scout leadership itself for covering up the crimes.

Abuse Lawsuits Prompt Bankruptcy

In mid-February 2020, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court, effectively halting hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits against the organization. The bankruptcy filing in Delaware has yet to announce a deadline for Boy Scout abuse claims to be filed. The deadline is important for anyone who was sexually abused as a scout. Once the deadline has passed, it will be very difficult to make a claim against the Boy Scouts for abuse that happened before the bankruptcy filing.

Like many Catholic dioceses in the United States, the bankruptcy filing will put an end to the endless stream of abuse lawsuits. Once the deadline has passed, only allegations that concern abuse after the date of the bankruptcy will be considered.

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one were the victim of Boy Scout sexual abuse, the time to act is now. Contact one of the experienced New York child sexual abuse lawyers at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP. We have been representing survivors of sexual abuse as an important part of our mission to seek justice and hold individuals and institutions accountable.

Send us a message or call (888) 260-0473 to schedule a free consultation.

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