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.