In a groundbreaking action, eight sexual abuse survivors filed a federal claim against the Boy Scouts of America in Washington, D.C., seeking to hold the youth organization accountable for failing to protect children from molesters in the Boy Scouts. The suit, submitted January 6, says the plaintiffs were sexually abused by adult leaders in the Boy Scouts and the organization covered up their abuse.
“The men seek to hold the Boy Scouts of America accountable for failing to ensure a safe environment for boys and for covering up decades of organization-wide sex abuse,” the lawsuit states.
The men involved in this suit are represented by lawyers with Abused in Scouting (AIS), a legal movement that represents victims of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). This team represents over 1,500 men across the nation all raising similar claims that the Boy Scouts failed to protect children from sexual predators and covered up abuse reports.
“BSA has never disclosed the substantial risks of sex abuse in scouting---instead, it has actively shielded the names of pedophilic scoutmasters---violations of BSA’s legal duty to report such information to Congress and the American public,” stated attorney Goelman in the claim. Goelman is a lawyer with Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, one of the law firms with Abused in Scouting.
AIS’s team chose to file this lawsuit in Washington, D.C. to test a legal theory that, potentially, could open up a new avenue for Scouting abuse survivors to reach justice. Not only was the BSA founded and incorporated in Washington, D.C., but the organization also received a federal charter that makes the nation’s capital its legal “home.”
D.C. recently opened a “look back window” that completely removes the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases for two years. Because of this “look back window” and the establishment of a legal “home” in D.C., Scouting abuse survivors denied justice in states without look back windows or altered laws may be able to come forward and pursue claims against the Boy Scouts in D.C.
“It is long past due for BSA to answer to abuse survivors for its organization-wide misconduct, failures, and dishonesty with respect to child sex abuse,” Goelman said in the suit.