You’ve likely heard the news that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for bankruptcy in February 2020. With this filing, victims now have a set amount of time to file a claim, and they must act fast.
If you’re a victim of scouting abuse, some questions likely come to mind. Did my abuse happen too long ago? What if I can’t remember the name of the troop leader or unit? Should I speak out even if I’ve never told anyone?
Questions like these are normal for sexual abuse victims. We understand the flood of emotions that occur when reliving these painful memories, but what’s important is that victims speak out now to seek the justice and compensation they deserve—especially when the court has the right to bar any claim filed after the set deadline.
If you have suffered Boy Scout abuse, learn how and when to file a proof of claims form below.
When should I file a claim against BSA?
Anyone who has experienced sexual abuse within Boy Scouts should file a proof of claims form before the November 16, 2020 deadline, regardless of the type of abuse. The proof of claims form is the formal document all victims must submit, detailing key information about their abuse.
We encourage survivors who fall into one of the following categories to come forward and file a claim:
- Experienced sexual abuse while a member of the BSA, no matter how long ago the abuse took place.
- Experienced other, non-sexual forms of abuse, like physical or emotional abuse, as well as bullying or hazing.
- Filed a sexual abuse claim against the BSA previously, but never received compensation or a resolution of your claim.
- Reported sexual abuse while you were a Boy Scout to law enforcement.
Note that the list above is not exhaustive—if you experienced another form of abuse that does not fall into one of these categories, contact us.
How do I fill out the Proof of Claims form?
The proof of claims form is lengthy, with six required sections for victims to fill out. These include:
- The victims preference for confidentiality.
- Identifying information.
- Background information.
- Nature of the sexual abuse.
- Impact of the sexual abuse.
- Additional information.
Each section lists a series of questions for victims to answer about the abuse. For most, these questions are difficult to answer, especially if the abuse happened many years ago.
Should I seek assistance from a sexual abuse attorney?
While you may attempt to fill out the proof of claims form by yourself, you should seek the support of a trusted attorney, considering a single mistake on the form may result in a barred claim or reduced compensation.
A sexual abuse attorney can help you understand each section, and advise you on what type of information and documentation are most beneficial to include when filling out the form. Not to mention, an experienced attorney understands the ways in which mediators and trustees evaluate claims form, and will work with you to ensure the form is free of error.
They’ll gather as much information as possible to ensure your claim is accurate. This gives victims peace of mind, knowing they carefully filled out the form and filed it with the correct parties.
Contact Us to Seek Justice Against the Boy Scouts
The experts at Hurley McKenna & Mertz are here to simplify the process of filing a claim against the Boy Scouts of America. We understand that taking action requires you to relive painful memories from your past, but the sooner you can come forward, the better.
We’re working with experienced social workers, who understand the emotional “ins and outs” of proving sexual abuse. It’s important that victims do not delay. Contact us for support.