It’s long been known that some Boy Scout leaders used the organization to gain access to and sexually abuse children. Now, the organization is facing a stunning 92,700 claims of sexual abuse from former scouts who said they were victims of said abuse while involved with the organization.
The number of claims that have been filed as a result of a bankruptcy deadline is now far higher than previously reported. Previously, the organization had recorded accusations of 7,819 perpetrators who abused 12,254 victims. Those accusations were found in an analysis of so-called “perversion files” that were kept by the organization but concealed from the public between 1944 and 2016.
Janet Warren, a psychiatry professor at the University of Virginia and an expert on sexual abuse, spent five years reviewing those files, which contained detailed information on volunteers barred from the group after “reasonable allegations of child sexual abuse.”
The onslaught of sexual abuse claims led the Boy Scouts to file for bankruptcy in February. That filing effectively placed those lawsuits, filed across the country, on hold. Now, they will move forward in bankruptcy court instead of civil court, usually the proper venue for claims of this kind.
“Their lives won’t be scrutinized, but they lose their right to a jury trial. For a lot of abuse survivors, telling their story in a court of law and forcing the organizations to defend their actions can be cathartic. That won’t happen with a bankruptcy,” Michael Pfau, an attorney representing hundreds of alleged victims, told CNN in February.
The BSA will now come up with a restructuring plan that will allow it to pay for settlements while third-party investigators review the claims themselves.
“We are committed to working as expeditiously as possible to provide survivors of abuse with equitable compensation,” the organization said in a statement.