San Antonio Sexual Abuse Lawyer

San Antonio Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest scouting organizations in the U.S. with millions of youth members and adult leaders. Boy Scouts was founded on good morals such as courage, patriotism, self-reliance, and more. The original goal of Boy Scouts was to create strong, successful, and reliable young men. Instead, many young scouts were instilled with lifelong fear, shame, disgust, and emotional trauma due to the widespread child sexual abuse that began shortly after the organization was founded in 1910.

Since the early 2000’s, Boy Scouts of America has faced hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits filed by former scout members. These lawsuits helped uncover BSA’s collection of secret perversion files that include all the names of known sexual predators within the organization. The scandal peaked in 2020 with BSA filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to fully compensate all the abuse claimants.

If you have suffered Boy Scouts sexual abuse at the hands of a scout leader or volunteer, you may still have grounds to file a lawsuit. San Antonio sexual abuse attorneys at Janicek Law have decades of combined experience in successfully litigating all sorts of civil claims, including sexual abuse claims. We want to help all abuse survivors to find their voice and obtain justice for their sexual trauma. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with a Boy Scouts sexual abuse lawyer at our law firm today.

boy scouts sexual abuse

What Are the Boy Scouts of America?

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of the largest youth scouting organizations in the United States with approximately 2.2 million youth members between the ages of 5 and 21 and approximately 800,000 volunteers.

The scouting organization was founded in 1910 by William Dickson Boyce with the purpose of teaching boys “patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values.” Now, the mission of BSA is “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”

Boy Scouts reached its peak popularity in 1973 with more than 4 million youth members. Since then, participation has gradually dropped, especially since the organization’s sexual abuse scandal came to light starting in the early 2000’s.

How Many Children Were Sexually Abused in Boy Scouts?

As of November 16, 2020 (which was the deadline for filing confidential claims within the Boy Scouts bankruptcy court), more than 92,000 former Boy Scouts filed sexual abuse claims. The abusers in the majority of these claims were Boy Scout leaders and volunteers. The claimants were all young boys or young adults at the time their abuse occurred within the organization.

Before the slew of lawsuits and the 2020 bankruptcy filing, though, there were nearly 2,000 child sexual abuse allegations around the mid-1990’s. Additionally, BSA kept a running list of secret “perversion files” that date back to the 1920s. It’s important to remember, though, that these numbers and names in the perversion files only contain the incidences of abuse that were reported. It’s very likely that there are far more incidences of abuse that have gone unreported for decades due to the fear and shame that many victims feel.

The History of BSA Perversion Files

The Boy Scouts of America has kept a massive list of sexual predators dating back to 1920. This list is known as the “perversion files,” and it contains the names of thousands of Boy Scout leaders and volunteers who have sexually violated youth members. BSA kept this list a secret for nearly a century, until they were forced to file bankruptcy in 2020 in order to appropriately compensate abuse survivors.

Perversion Files: 1920

In 1920, BSA began creating its infamous perversion files list. This list contained the names of Boy Scout volunteers who were deemed ineligible to participate in the organization due to reports of child sexual abuse.

Perversion Files: 1935

In 1935, President Roosevelt’s son gave a speech at BSA’s 25th anniversary gala and mentioned something called the “Red Files.” At the time, attendees were confused and immediately assumed that the BSA was tracking communists. At a different press conference, BSA clarified that the Red Files weren’t for communist-tracking purposes. Instead, they explained that the Red Files were a large list of known child molesters within the organization. BSA also explained that they had removed several Boy Scout leaders and volunteers in an attempt to protect their youth members. This was the first ever public mention that BSA had a child sexual abuse problem.

Perversion Files: 1971

In 1971, BSA executives began destroying some of the perversion files if the abuser in question was older than 80 years old or dead. By this point, many BSA employees still didn’t know that the organization was keeping a secret list of sexual abusers.

1988 Youth Protection Program

In 1988, BSA attempted to address the sexual abuse problem by creating its Youth Protection Program. The goal of the program was to educate both youth members and leaders about sexual abuse in order to prevent future claims from occurring.

FBI agent Kenneth Lannings – who helped develop the Youth Protection Program within BSA – stated: “a skilled pedophile who can get children into a situation where they must change clothing or stay with him overnight will almost always succeed in seducing them.” Thus, the following policies were implemented into BSA:

  • Two-Deep Leadership: This policy mandated that at least two adults must accompany youth members on all BSA-related camping trips and activities. The goal with this policy was to ensure that a youth member was never alone with a potential sexual predator.
  • No One-On-One Contact: BSA leaders and volunteers are not allowed to physically contact youth members, especially when there is no one else around.
  • Respect of Privacy: BSA leaders and volunteers must give youth members complete privacy while they’re changing or showering. They cannot intrude unless the youth member expresses they are having a health or safety emergency.
  • Separate Sleeping and Bathroom Accommodations: Adults and youth members cannot sleep in the same tents, unless the adult is a parent of the youth member. Additionally, female members and volunteers must have their own bathrooms. If there are no female bathrooms available, then there must be separate bathroom times between males and females.
  • Proper Preparations for High-Risk Activities: All youth members should have proper clothing, instructions, supervision, equipment, safety measures, etc. when engaging in high-risk activities.
  • No Secret Organizations Allowed: BSA does not allow any secret organizations among youth members and adults. All aspects and activities of BSA should be open to everyone.
  • Appropriate Clothing: All adults and youth members should wear appropriate clothing during all scouting activities. Skinny-dipping, for example, is not allowed.
  • Appropriate Discipline: Any necessary discipline should clearly reflect the values of the organization. This means that no corporal punishment is allowed.
  • No Hazing Allowed: Pre-existing youth members and adults are not allowed to engage in hazing with new members.
  • Appropriate Training and Supervision for Junior Leaders: Junior leaders must be properly trained and monitored by adult leaders so that everyone abides by BSA policies.

Many people criticized BSA’s Youth Protection Program because, in many ways, it was designed to protect the adults from further abuse allegations, rather than to protect the children. Additionally, BSA did not require criminal background checks for its volunteers until as late as 2008. Failing to do this essentially let thousands of child molesters into the organization.

BSA expanded the original Youth Protection Program in 2019 to include policies against bullying, among other things. All BSA adults are required to do the updated Youth Protection Program every two years.

Perversion Files: 2007

2007 marked the start of child sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the Boy Scouts of America. Six former Boy Scouts in Oregon sued the organization, claiming that an assistant scoutmaster sexually abused them in the 1980s. This case marked the first time that a jury was allowed to read thousands of secret perversion files. The secret perversion files – containing thousands upon thousands of names at this point – painted a clear picture of just how widespread and mismanaged the sexual abuse problem was within BSA. The six men were awarded a $19 million settlement.

Perversion Files: 2012

After the Oregon lawsuit, legal experts pushed BSA to release all of the perversion files as evidence to the public. BSA released 1,200 perversion files dated between the years of 1965 to 1985. These files showed just how much BSA tried to cover up the child sexual abuse claims. Scouting officials at the time begged the abusers to resign so that they wouldn’t have to report their crimes to the police. Another investigation of child sexual abuse police reports between 1965 and 1985 – conducted by the LA Times – proved this to be true. The investigation revealed that none of these Boy Scout leaders were reported to the police.

How BSA Handled its Sexual Abuse Scandal

After the first major Boy Scouts lawsuit in 2007, more and more lawsuits from sexual abuse victims began to pop up. Finally, in February 2020, BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to financially compensate its thousands of abuse claimants. The organization listed assets that equaled up to $10 billion.

The U.S. bankruptcy court for the District of Delaware set November 16, 2020 as the deadline for former scout members to submit their sexual abuse claims. By the time that date rolled around, more than 92,000 sexual abuse victims filed claims. This is the largest sexual abuse case in U.S. history.

At the time of writing, the approximate settlement amount is $2.46 billion. This settlement amount was approved in September 2022 by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein in Delaware. BSA’s largest supporters and the majority of the abuse survivors also support this settlement amount.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Cases

In 2019, Texas was one of many states that expanded its statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims. Now, abuse survivors can file a claim up until their 48th birthday. So if you’re under 48 years old and you experienced sexual abuse in Boy Scouts, church, school, or any other organization, there is still time to seek the justice you deserve.

Can I Still File a Sexual Abuse Claim Against the Boy Scouts?

Although the deadline for filing a sexual abuse claim within the Boy Scouts bankruptcy court has already passed, you may still be able to file a separate claim against the abuser or the entire organization. Be sure to contact a San Antonio sexual abuse lawyer at Janicek Law. We can listen to your story, investigate the details of your claim, and help you determine the best course of action.

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Call San Antonio Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Janicek Law Today

If you’re a former Boy Scout who has suffered sexual abuse at the hands of BSA leaders or volunteers, you may still be able to pursue legal action. San Antonio sexual abuse attorneys at Janicek Law want to help abuse survivors obtain the financial compensation they deserve, and also protect their legal rights. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team today.

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