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Boy Scout Abuse Claims: FAQs

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BSA Abuse FAQs

UPDATE: The Deadline to File a Boy Scout Abuse Claim Is Less than a Month Away

The deadline for filing a claim against The Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) is fast approaching on November 16, 2020. As a follow up to this FAQ, we’ve put together some answers to additional questions about Boy Scout abuse cases.

In our expanded FAQ, we’ve answered the following questions:

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Boy Scout Abuse Claim Deadline to File: November 16, 2020

The Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States with approximately 2.3 million Boy Scout members.  However, like most youth organizations, sexual abuse has been an issue for decades.  According to a 1991 study by the Washington Times entitled “Scouts Honor,” 1,151 Scouts reported abuse from 1971 – 1990.   The number of Boy Scout abuse claims is staggering and the stories are tragic.  In response to the escalating number of lawsuits claiming abuse, the BSA filed bankruptcy in Delaware.  The Chapter 11 bankruptcy will protect the organization from the financial uncertainty by creating a trust to provide compensation for abuse victims.



Critically, victims whose claims would otherwise be barred by time restrictions are able to file a claim for compensation.  Also, claim submissions are kept confidential.  If you or someone you know was the victim of BSA abuse, it is important to understand the bankruptcy claim process and should contact the attorneys at The Kryder Law Group to discuss your case.

BSA Abuse Infographic

Are Boy Scout abuse claims barred by the statute of limitations?

Typically, old claims of Boy Scout abuse can be barred by the statute of limitations, which places time restrictions on how long a victim is allowed to file a claim or lawsuit from the date of the incident.  Importantly, due to the recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by the Boy Scouts of America, the statute of limitations bar has been lifted to allow victims of abuse to  participate in the BSA compensation fund.  This means claims can now be made no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.  Victims are given a new opportunity to file a claim that may otherwise have been barred.   These claims must be filed by the November 16, 2020 deadline.

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Who should file a claim against the BSA for abuse?

Anyone who has been a victim of abuse while participating in the Boy Scouts of America should file a claim.  Specifically, survivors should report a claim if:

  • you have filed a lawsuit or claims against BSA;
  • called the Scouts First Hotline or otherwise reported a claim of abuse;
  • never filed a lawsuit, entered a settlement, or reported their abuse;
  • did or did not report your abuse to BSA or anyone else;
  • believe the statute of limitations has run out on your abuse claim;
  • previously had a sexual abuse claim paid by the BSA but believe you may have additional claims beyond what was agreed in the settlement agreement.

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How much compensation will victims of Boy Scout abuse receive?

The amount paid to abuse victims will vary depending upon the amount of assets and debts of the BSA.  Each case is different and many factors will determine compensation.  Victims can potentially recover medical expenses including psychological counseling or therapy as well compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.  Recently, the BSA reported payment of $150 million in settlements and legal costs from 2017 to 2019.  In recent years, many insurance companies have been withdrawing insurance coverage for abuse claims stating the BSA knew of the abuse and failed to report it to the insurance carriers.  This likely leaves the BSA having to fund litigation and settlements.   In its most recent tax filing, the BSA showed total revenue of $285 billion with $1.4 billion in assets.

When do I have to file a claim against BSA to receive compensation for abuse?

Claims must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on November 16, 2020, for victims to be eligible for compensation through the bankruptcy compensation fund. A sexual abuse survivor proof of claim form is available at officialBSAClaims.com.  There is also a general proof of claim form at omniagentsolutions.com/bsaclaims.   Claim forms can be mailed or filed on line.

What qualifies as sexual abuse?

According to the sexual abuse claim form, sexual abuse has been defined as:

  • conduct or misconduct, sexual abuse or molestation, sexual exploitation, sexual touching, sexualized interaction, sexual comments about a person’s body, or other verbal or non-verbal behaviors that facilitated, contributed to, or led up to abuse, regardless of whether or not such behavior was itself sexual or against the law, and regardless of whether the child thought the behavior was sexual abuse at the time.
  • Sexual abuse includes behavior between a child and an adult and between a child and another child, in each instance without regard to whether such activity involved explicit force, whether such activity involved genital or other physical contact, and whether the child associated the abuse with any physical, psychological, or emotional harm.
  • Sexual abuse involves behaviors including penetration or fondling of the child’s body, other body-on-body contact, or non-contact, behaviors such as observing or making images of a child’s naked body, showing or making pornography, or having children behave in sexual behavior as a group.

What has the BSA done to protect Scouts?

The BSA developed the Youth Protection plan to educate and prevent abuse.  The program serves to protect Scouts as well as leadership from false claims.  One of the key policies requires two-deep leadership, which requires two adults to be present at all times.  Additionally, the plans call for:

  • no one-on-one contact between adults and youths unless the meeting is in view of other adults/youths;
  • respect of privacy in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers; separate accommodations meaning no youth is permitted to sleep in a tent with an adult other than a parent or guardian; appropriate attire;
  • hazing prohibition;
  • junior leader training/supervision ensuring proper BSA guidelines are followed; and
  • constructive discipline with corporal punishment forbidden.

Moreover, in 2008, the BSA required all volunteers to undergo a criminal background check.

In an open letter to abuse victims, the BSA National Chair stated:

“I am outraged that individuals took advantage of our programs to commit these heinous acts.   I am also outraged that there were times when volunteers and employees ignored our procedures or forgave transgressions that are unforgivable.  In some cases, this led to tragic acts of abuse.  While those instances were limited, they mean we didn’t do enough to protect the children in our care – to protect you.   On behalf of myself and the entire Scouting Community:  I am sorry.  I am devastated that there were times in the past when we failed the very children we were supposed to protect.”

Do I have a case against the BSA?

Call the personal injury attorneys at The Kryder Law Group to discuss your case, legal rights and options.  The attorneys at The Kryder Law Group have the experience and knowledge to successfully litigate your case and maximize your recovery.  If you or someone you know has been the victim of BSA abuse, please contact the lawyers at The Kryder Law Group to discuss your legal rights at (312) 223-1700 or kryderlaw@gmail.com.

 

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