Boy Scouts sex-abuse claims approach 100,000

Boy Scouts sex-abuse

More than 95,000 people have come forward with sex-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

The claims, which lawyers said far eclipsed the number of abuse accusations filed in Catholic Church cases, continued to mount.

The figure revealed the scale of alleged abuse committed over decades by scout leaders. It dwarfs the roughly 11,000 complaints filed in recent years against the Catholic Church.

Claimants had until Nov 16 to register for compensation from the organization, Paul Mones, a lawyer for the victims, told AFP.

Rocked by accusations of sexual abuse, the BSA filed for bankruptcy in February to block settlement claims from hitting the organization directly. Instead, they funnelled them to a compensation fund.

“It’s by far the largest sexual abuse scandal in the US,” Mones said. He added that scouting has long offered a “perfect petri dish” for paedophiles, “boys have taken an oath of loyalty, they are away from their parents, in the wilderness.”

“We are devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in scouting and moved by the bravery of those who have come forward,” BSA said in a statement.

“We intentionally developed an open, accessible process to reach survivors and help them take an essential step toward receiving compensation. The response we have seen from survivors has been gut-wrenching. We are deeply sorry,” the BSA added.

The group, founded in 1910, has 2.2 million members between the ages of five and 21.

Revelations of  US Boy Scouts sex-abuse came to widespread attention in 2012 when the Los Angeles Times published internal documents spelling out details of decades of sexual abuse.

Most incidents were never reported to authorities, and the BSA took it upon themselves to remove the accused offenders.

Negotiations will now begin between victims, the BSA and their insurers to determine the amounts to be paid.

In 2010, Mones won $20 million for a former Boy Scout abused by his leader.


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