Boy Scouts sex abuse: where to from here?

boy scouts

The Boy Scouts of America bills itself as a high-profile “values-based youth organization” aimed at moulding impressionable children into upstanding citizens.

But thousands of boy scouts say they were preyed upon by the scoutmasters who were supposed to be their role models—and that Boy Scouts leadership long covered up their crimes.

Time has confirmed that approximately 92,700 people have now filed sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America ahead of the Nov. 16 deadline set to demand damages from the organization.

The Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy in February under the mounting financial strain of sex abuse lawsuits.

Under the Chapter 11 filing, the organization will reorganize and establish a victims’ compensation fund.

A judge set the Nov. 16 deadline to allow alleged victims a final opportunity to file claims.

Time reported last year that hundreds of men and boys were coming forward for the first time with accounts of rape and assault suffered as children at the hands of scoutmasters.

The number of victims has since ballooned into the tens of thousands, in a moment reminiscent of the slew of abuse claims levied against the Catholic Church.

“Sadly there was an unspoken norm that sexual abuse of children would occur in the Boy Scouts,” Andrew van Arsdale, one of the attorneys representing the people alleging abuse, said in a statement to Time.

“Based on what we are hearing from survivors, sexual abuse was a rite of passage in troops across the country, similar to other tasks where children had to do perform certain duties to earn their coveted merit badges.”

The Boy Scouts of America said in a statement to Time, “We are devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in scouting and moved by the bravery of those who came forward.”

They added that they are working to protect current scouts.

“Over many years, we have developed some of the strongest youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization, which are informed by respected experts in the fields of child safety, law enforcement, and child psychology.”

For the tens of thousands of people who say they were abused as scouts, the November deadline was the last opportunity to file a claim against the organization—and see justice done.

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