Man who was sexually abused as a child, distressed about his future.

Was I Abused? Confusion Over The Definition Of Sexual Abuse Leads Many Victim-Survivors To Downplay What Happened To Them

If we could send a message to every man in America who was a Boy Scout during their youth it would be this: there is more to sexual abuse than inappropriate touching. There are a wide variety of activities that constitute abuse, and the Boy Scouts of America failed to protect its members from any of them

What Is Abuse?

Most people are aware that unwanted sexual contact or sexual contact with a minor is sexual abuse. The same goes for molestation, sexual exploitation, sexual assault, battery, and rape. However, this is not a full list of activities that constitute sexual abuse. 

Sexual abuse also includes interactions between an adult and a child that are of a sexual nature. Examples of this include supplying pornography to a minor and/or viewing it with them, creating pornographic or explicit materials with a child, discussing sexual acts, and encouraging minors to perform sexual acts on themselves or others. 

Adults can also abuse minors by encouraging them to harass one another, touch one another, or perform sexual acts on one another. It does not matter if the adult stayed to watch the action play out, the fact that they encouraged it is abuse. 

Just because these activities occur around a campfire, or have an educational veneer on them does not make them acceptable. There is no room for the excuse that “boys will be boys” when it comes to sexual abuse. 

BSA Abuse Was Widespread 

We know all of the types of sexual abuse described above occurred during a Boy Scout sponsored event, or was performed by a Boy Scout leader or staff member. The BSA’s own records paint a lurid picture of an organization that had a serious problem with childhood sexual abuse. 

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 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.)

Although the Boy Scouts kept these meticulous records, it failed to share them with law enforcement officials. Rather than taking action to protect future victims, the organization chose to sweep the abuse under the rug and preserve its own reputation. 

Hold The BSA Accountable

It is time to hold the BSA accountable for the abuse it covered up, and in some ways facilitated. 

If you are a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a Boy Scout leader, volunteer, or employee, now is the time to speak with an experienced attorney about what happened to you. 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. 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.