One of the most heart-breaking things we hear from our clients who were sexually abused when they were Boy Scouts is that they thought they were alone.
Until they saw a story on the news about others who were abused, they thought what happened to them happened for a reason. They tried to normalize or rationalize the abuse they endured, or spent years thinking they did something wrong instead of blaming the predator that hurt them, or the organization that failed to protect them.
We are here to say that you are not alone. We are here to stand with you. We are here to spread the word that victims are not to blame. Abusers and BSA leaders who spent decades pretending the organization didn’t have a serious sexual abuse problem are the villains in this story.
Just how many Scouts were victims of abuse? Enough to bankrupt the BSA
According to NPR, “The Boy Scouts of America’s own records show that more than 12,000 children have been sexually assaulted while participating in the organization’s programs. The documents came to light through court testimony given by a researcher whom the Scouts had hired to do an internal review. The records reveal allegations against thousands of Scout leaders — allegations that date from the 1940s.”
We think this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Since the early 1920s, the BSA has kept files on adult leaders and volunteers who committed various crimes and offenses. These files were originally called the Red Flag Files or the Confidential Files. Today, they are referred to as the Ineligible Volunteer or I.V. Files.
The I.V. Files include information on BSA staff and volunteers who have been accused of six categories of offenses — Moral, Financial, Leadership, Theft, Criminal, and Perversion. The largest category by far is Perversion. The Perversion Files, or “P Files” as the BSA internally refers to them, contain the names of scoutmasters, volunteers, and BSA staff accused or convicted of molesting or otherwise sexually abusing Boy Scouts. (Thanks to the work of Attorney Paul Mones, these files are now public documents, which can be accessed by clicking here.)
The 12,000 victim-survivor estimate comes from these files, but we know these files do not contain a list of all abusers associated with the BSA, just those that were reported. Many victim-survivors never talked about what happened to them.
Research on childhood sexual abuse indicates that very few victim-survivors speak up at the time of the abuse. We know this to be true for BSA victims because our firm is currently representing over a hundred victim-survivors, and only a handful of them were abused by someone with a formal Perversion File.
Just because the person that abused you is not named in the Perversion Files does not mean that you cannot seek compensation for the abuse that you endured. It does not matter how long ago the abuse occurred, what state you lived in at the time the abuse occurred, or where you live now, you may be eligible for monetary compensation.
Attorney Paul Mones and his team are prepared to help as many Boy Scout abuse victim-survivors as possible seek justice whether the BSA remains solvent or not. Paul has years of experience handling childhood sexual abuse cases, and a passion for seeing past wrongs righted. When you are ready to come forward and learn about your options, Paul and his team are ready to help.