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5 States Extend “Look Back” Window for Boy Scout Abuse Victims to File Claims Against Local Councils and Sponsoring Organizations

September 24, 2020  ·  By HM&M


The decision by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to declare bankruptcy in February comes as legal claims of past sexual abuse continue to mount. Several states recently expanded their statutes of limitations, enabling victims to file sexual abuse claims when they weren’t eligible to do so previously.

Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed legislation extending the look back window under the Child Victims Act by a full year. Other states have also passed legislation to extend their window to revive barred or expired cases, including Arizona, California, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.

While Boy Scout sexual abuse victims must file any claim they have against the Boy Scouts of America by November 16, 2020 in the United States Bankruptcy Court, recent changes to statutes of limitations in some states may allow victims to file suit in the court systems of those states against other Scout-related entities. This includes Boy Scout local councils, and Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troop sponsoring organizations, like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church).

Below, we outline the deadline dates for each of the states with windows that are still open. These dates may change or apply differently based on the facts of your case, the location of your abuse, and other factors. Thus, you should contact an experienced abuse lawyer immediately to confirm which deadline applies to you.


Under California law abuse victims have a three-year look back window, which started in January of 2020, in which sexual abuse claims that have since passed the statute of limitations can be pursued. Courts will triple damages for victims if there was an attempted cover-up by the abuser or the associated organization.

The deadline to file a sexual abuse claim in California closes October 13, 2022.


The Arizona Child Protection Act passed last year opened a look back window during which victims that are older than 30 can file a claim, regardless of when the sexual abuse occurred.

The deadline to file claims in Arizona now closes December 31, 2020.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, a statute went into effect on December 1, 2019, which temporarily revives previously time-barred claims during a two-year look back window. Therefore, previously expired child sexual abuse claims may be filed in New Jersey.

The deadline to file claims closes November 30, 2021.

North Carolina

North Carolina has opened a two-year look back window that completely removes the statute of limitations. During this window, abuse victims, no matter their age or how long ago their abuse happened, can file a claim against their abusers. This includes previously barred claims.

The deadline to file claims in North Carolina closes July 22, 2021.

Washington, D.C.

Opportunities to file civil lawsuits in Washington, D.C. were limited for people sexually abused before the law changed.

But, the look back window includes a provision to allow sexual abuse victims to file claims if they’re younger than 40, or at any age they realized or became aware that they were abused within the previous five years.

The deadline to file claims in Washington, D.C. is May 3, 2021.

Contact Us Immediately to Seek Justice Against the Boy Scouts and Their Local Councils

At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, we represent thousands of individuals who were victims of abuse while in Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. We understand taking action isn’t always easy, but we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact us immediately. It’s only after we secure a settlement for you that we receive any form of compensation.

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