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How Do I Know If I Am a Victim of Scouting Abuse?

September 9, 2020  ·  By HM&M


Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for bankruptcy on February 18, 2020, following hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits brought against the organization in civil courts across America.

As more victims come forward to file claims before the bankruptcy deadline on November 16, 2020, many are still grappling with their abuse, and wondering if it’s worth it to report.

There are a wide range of reasons victims don’t report their experiences with sexual abuse to authorities and, oftentimes, even hide them from close family members and friends. And, many victims are unsure if their situation is categorized as abuse.

To help you understand whether you have a viable case in the bankruptcy court, the BSA has created the following four categories—each of which we’ve broken down in further detail below:

  • Experienced sexual abuse while a member of 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.

We encourage any survivor who falls into one of the above categories to come forward, immediately. Or, if you’re unsure whether your abuse falls into one of the categories listed above, seek the support of a trusted attorney.

Category 1: Did you experience sexual abuse while a member of BSA?

Childhood sexual abuse can come in many forms. If you experienced one of the following types of abuse at the hands of BSA on or before February 18, 2020, you have the right to seek justice against your perpetrator(s):

  • Sexual abuse or molestation.
  • Sexual conduct or misconduct.
  • Sexual exploitation or molestation
  • Sexual touching or fondling.
  • Sexual penetration.
  • Sexualized interaction(s).

This 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.

If you experienced any of the above incidents while you were a member of Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Explorer Scouts, or Sea Scouts, you should consider filing a claim against the Boy Scouts of America in their bankruptcy proceeding. Contact us today to discuss your rights if you were a victim of abuse.

Category 2: Did you experience physical or emotional abuse?

Outside of sexual abuse, you may have experienced physical or emotional abuse. This includes any of the following:

  • Sexual comments about a person’s body, 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.
  • Non-contact behaviors, such as observing or making images of a child’s naked body.
  • Showing or making pornography.
  • Non-sexual forms of abuse, like physical or emotional abuse, as well as bullying or hazing.

According to the official BSA website, there are several different forms of bullying, including but not limited, to:

  • Verbal: Name calling, teasing, and threats.
  • Social: Spreading rumors, leaving the target out of activities, and breaking up or manipulating friendships.
  • Physical: Hitting, pushing, shoving, or coercion.
  • Group: Intimidations or ostracizing.
  • Criminal: Injury, assault, or sexual aggression.
  • Cyber: Using digital technology, such as social media, gaming, texting, or any form of the above.

Category 3: Did you file a sexual abuse claim against BSA previously?

If you’ve previously filed a sexual abuse claim against BSA, you may be entitled to more compensation.

In the past, Boy Scouts had insurance to cover sexual abuse claims. However, many carriers have recently withdrawn coverage, arguing BSA knew about the abuse and didn’t tell the insurance companies.

As a result, the organization is left to fund any civil litigation itself.

According to its most recent tax filings, BSA has assets exceeding $1 billion from stocks and bonds ($680 million), money in the bank ($55 million), and property ($102 million). Its local councils own hundreds of additional camps, reservations, and other properties across the country.

Knowing this, victims are encouraged to contact a trusted attorney to learn about their rights—no matter when the alleged abuse occurred.

Category 4: Did you report sexual abuse while in BSA to law enforcement?

Before the bankruptcy filing, 275 lawsuits were pending and another 1,400 claims were identified against BSA.

Regardless if you reported your sexual abuse to law enforcement or not, you should still come forward and file the official proof of claims form through the bankruptcy court before the November 16, 2020 deadline. This will ensure your case is considered for fair and equal compensation.

Contact Us to Seek Justice Against the Boy Scouts of America

The experts at Hurley McKenna & Mertz are here to simplify the process of filing a claim against the Boy Scouts of America. We have represented more than 1,400 courageous individuals who survived sexual abuse at the hands of a scouting leader or volunteer.

Contact us today. Your consultation is absolutely free. It’s only after we secure a settlement for you that we receive any form of compensation.

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