Coming forward with claims of sexual abuse can be one of the most challenging actions a victim takes. In many cases, however, it’s the only way to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Since the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for bankruptcy in February 2020, many sexual abuse victims have taken the first step in seeking justice—they’ve scheduled a consultation with an attorney.
If this is true for you, you may be wondering what to expect before, during, and after your initial meeting. For more information about the consultation process, and how to go about filing a claim, continue reading below.
Before your consultation, make sure to compile the appropriate documentation. This may include personal identification, as well as any information related to your abuse, such as the names of the sponsoring organizations and units (if any). If you have previously filed a claim against BSA, make sure to have a copy of that, as well as documentation of the settlement.
If you don’t have this documentation, it’s okay. The attorney will tell you what to prepare, and help you gather the necessary information if they choose to take on your case.
Given the current situation with coronavirus, your consultation will likely be done over the phone or using a video conferencing software. In doing so, the claimant doesn’t have to leave his or her house, and meetings can take place at the time most convenient to them. It’s important to note the consultation will resume as normal, and is no different than meeting in person.
Depending on the law firm, you may have several attorneys working on your sexual abuse claim. If that’s the case, your consultation will start off with introductions.
While you may have done some research beforehand, they’ll likely provide you with some information about their experience representing victims of sexual abuse against the Boy Scouts and their local councils in the past. They’ll also provide you with resources to make sure you’re comfortable every step of the way. Some law firms may bring in social workers to ensure the process of recounting the abuse is as painless as possible.
From there, a series of conversations will occur. This is your time to share your story. The attorney will take notes, and gather as much information as possible about the abuse, including, but not limited, to:
- The abuser, including their position, title, and relationship to you in scouting.
- The type of abuse.
- The aftermath of the abuse, including how it affected, harmed, damaged, or injured you.
- Sponsoring organizations and units (if any).
- Your troop.
Remember, it’s okay if you don’t know every detail. It’s the attorney’s job to gather the facts and determine the legal merit of your case before making a claim.
Finally, they’ll make time for questions. This is your opportunity to ask anything you want to know more about, such as the time it takes to fill out and file a claim, as well as costs.
Many victims are justifiably concerned about the costs involved in hiring an attorney to pursue their case. Fortunately, some attorneys take on cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning they will not charge fees upfront. This shifts the risk from the victim to the attorney because they do not receive any form of payment unless a settlement is reached.
While it helps to prepare a list of questions, they’ll be sure to answer everything to give you peace of mind about the process.
Have You Filed a Sexual Abuse Claim Against the Boy Scouts of America?
The Bankruptcy Court deadline for sexual abuse victims to file a claim was November 16, 2020. If you filed a claim, it’s vital that you stay up-to-date on the latest news of the Boy Scouts bankruptcy filing.
The experts at Hurley McKenna & Mertz are tracking the latest news, insights, and relevant information about the Boy Scouts bankruptcy filing here.