Boy Scouts have 92,000 complaints of sexual abuse, more than the Catholic Church
By the time the 5 p.m. deadline arrived on Monday, at least 92,700 former Boy Scouts had filed sexual abuse complaints against Boy Scouts of America, one of the largest youth organizations in the United States.
The Centennial Group – once considered American as Norman Rockwell’s paintings that immortalize his three finger salutes – filed for bankruptcy in February amid a drop in membership and a avalanche allegations of sexual abuse.
The Scouts began taking action to address the abuse problem in the 1980s, suggesting the problem had been prevalent for decades, according to Jason Amala, whose Seattle law firm represents survivors of sexual abuse. on children. If the bankruptcy had taken place 10 or 20 years ago, it might have exceeded 150,000 abuse claims, Amala told the Union of times.
The Boy Scout crisis parallels that of the Catholic Church in the United States, Associated press reported. The two face thousands of lawsuits for negligence and cover-up, most of them decades ago, whether by priests or Boy Scout leaders.
The total number of claims against the American Catholic Church is unknown, but more than 6,700 priests and other clergy have been accused of abuse between 1950 and 2016, according to data from the nonprofit BishopAccountability.org. Only half of the names of the accused priests have been made public, according to ConsumerSafety.org.
“On some level, the Catholic Church’s problem might pale in comparison, and that speaks volumes,” Amala said. “We focus a lot on the problem of the Catholic Church and rightly so, but these numbers (the Boy Scouts) – they’re staggering.”
Sexual abuse at Boy Scouts of America was an “unspoken norm,” according to Van Arsdale, a senior lawyer who has contacted thousands of suspected survivors over the past 19 months. “From what we hear from survivors, sexual abuse was a rite of passage in troops across the country, similar to other tasks where children had to … complete certain tasks to earn their coveted merit badges,” Arsdale said in a statement to CNN.
Boy Scouts of America has over $ 1 billion in assets, according to its most recent tax returns, New York Times reported. This includes financial investments like stocks and bonds ($ 680 million), cash in the bank ($ 55 million), and property ($ 102 million).
“But much more is owned by the more than 250 local councils, which own hundreds of camps, reserves and other properties across the country,” the NYT reported. For example, Sam Houston Regional Council, which is developing the new Texas facility, Camp Strap, has $ 150 million in assets, half of which are publicly traded investments.
The Boy Scouts maintain that local councils are legally and financially independent, and are not part of the bankruptcy filing. The national organization has proposed a 90-page reorganization plan that it says would allow local councils to be protected from prosecution for abuse.
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The future of the Scout movement may rest on the ownership distinction, Mike Baker wrote for The Times.
“These are not independent organizations,” said Gilion Dumas, an attorney who represented around 200 clients involving the Boy Scouts. “They are part of the Boy Scouts of America.”
Local councils were often aware of the abuse issues in their areas and they cannot be completely excluded from the case, Dumas said. To be immune from prosecution, she said local councils will need to make a substantial contribution to victims’ confidence in the compensation that the Boy Scouts have proposed to settle current and future claims.
Black or African American members of the Boy Scouts of America made up 12.8% of total membership in 2014 compared to 12.7% in 2009, according to Scouting.org. In 2020, Boy Scouts of America reported 2.2 million young members aged 5 to 21 and around 800,000 volunteers in local councils across the United States
The organization says it helps young people to be “prepared for life”.