Houston Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse Lawyer
For almost a century, there have been rumors of sexual abuse across Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Since its founding in 1910, BSA silenced thousands of victims’ voices and protected abusers’ reputations in secret “Perversion Files” that went undisclosed to law enforcement.
At last, the silence broke in 2012. New evidence finally exposed both sexual predators and BSA leaders who failed to report sexual abuse. Just because BSA leaders failed to stand up for victims, doesn’t mean that it’s too late for members to champion a new ethical conduct code.
BSA Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
The most common Boy Scouts lawsuit is one relating to sexual abuse. At this time, more than 92,700 men have filed lawsuits after suffering sexual abuse as children from their Scoutmasters.
How Did the BSA Handle Sexual Abuse Allegations?
Boy Scouts of America has started to pay for faltering from its moral codes. As a result, BSA reached an $850 million settlement with more than 60,000 men who sued for alleged sexual abuse as of July 2021. Additionally in February 2020, BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing assets up to $10 billion.
BSA Perversion Files History
BSA reports show that since its founding in 1910, leaders kept secret files of thousands of sexual abuse cases called the “Perversion Files.” The files hold the names of alleged abusers. BSA hid the files for over a century to preserve its image.
In 1935, President Theodore Roosevelt’s son referenced the Perversion Files in a speech at the BSA 25th anniversary gala. In the speech, he called them the “Red Files” which made many people think that BSA was tracking communists. At a second press conference, BSA later explained that they were keeping “Red Files” of child molesters involved in the organization. BSA also admitted to removing thousands of abusers from the organization already.
In 1971, Scouting executives admitted to destroying thousands of Perversion Files deemed as outdated. Essentially, if the abuser was more than 80 years old or dead, the abuser’s file was destroyed.
The explosion of Boy Scouts lawsuits is often tied to a 2007 Oregon case where six men sued BSA. They claimed an assistant scoutmaster sexually abused them in the 1980s. During this trial, the jury read the thousands of sexual abuse cases kept secretly in the Perversion Files. The Oregon case resulted in a $19 million award for the victims.
After the landmark trial, Oregon insisted the Perversion Files be released to the public in 2012. Investigators reviewed 1,200 files between 1965 to 1985 and learned that Scouting officials quietly urged abusers to resign so they wouldn’t have to report them to the police. In most cases, Scouting officials actively hid the abuse and allowed the abusers to hide it as well.
Why Did the BSA File for Bankruptcy?
BSA filed for bankruptcy due to the incredible financial strain of sexual abuse lawsuits. Under the Chapter 11 filing, the organization established a victims’ compensation fund. Afterwards, BSA’s insurance companies refused to pay out damages in 2018. The insurance companies said BSA was liable for the abuse because they could’ve taken steps to prevent it.
Statute of Limitations for Boy Scout Sexual Harassment Claims
Sexual abuse falls under the “personal injury” category which usually has a two year statute of limitations. But as more victims came forward, some with decades-old abuse stories, this statute expanded. In Texas specifically, sexual abuse victims now have 30 years after turning 18 years old to file a Boy Scouts lawsuit. The new statute of limitations changed from the previous 15 year threshold in September 2019.
You’ll want to consult with a Houston personal injury law firm with extensive experience in sexual abuse cases for children.
Child Victims Act in Texas
Similarly to the statute of limitations in Texas, the Child Victims Act extends the amount of time that victims can sue for their sexual abuse. The law passed in Texas and 14 other states in 2019 with the reasoning that children don’t understand what sexual abuse is until they’re older. Therefore, a statute of limitations of two years before the abuse is unfair and unjust. Under this law in Texas, child sexual abuse victims can file a sexual abuse lawsuit 30 years after they turn 18 years old.
Our experienced Houston child sexual abuse attorneys are here to help victims receive compensation while gaining some closure.
Victims of Child Abuse Act of 2013
Different than the Child Victims Act, the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 2013 reauthorized the act from 1990 and was signed. The main goal is to authorize funding to help child abuse victims through Children’s Advocacy Centers.
The 2013 law amends the 1990 act by authorizing appropriations for:
- The Children’s Advocacy Centers
- Grants from the administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to develop and begin child abuse investigation programs
- Grants to national organizations to assist and train attorneys and others involved in child abuse lawsuits
Types of BSA Sexual Abuse Cases
Sexual abuse in Boy Scouts can range anywhere from molestation to rape by Scoutmasters and volunteers. However, all forms of sexual abuse are equally serious and damaging to a person’s mental and physical health.
Even if you feel that the abuse you suffered wasn’t “bad enough,” you still deserve justice and peace of mind. The Houston sexual abuse lawyers at Reich & Binstock want to hear your story.
Effects of Child Abuse
Victims can suffer a variety of physical, mental, and behavioral effects from sexual abuse. Symptoms often depend on the duration and severity of the abuse. Additionally, being aware of the warning signs of childhood grooming and the effects of abuse can help to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions.
- Severe genital pain
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Stomach aches
- Painful urination
- Low self-esteem
- Nightmares and trouble sleeping
- Acting out in violence or anger by running away, shoplifting, setting fires, hurting people or animals
- Sexual dysfunction
- No longer wanting to be social
- Poor grades and skipping school
- Various health conditions from drug or alcohol abuse
- Sexually transmitted infections from hypersexuality
- Vaginal pain or difficulty reaching orgasm for women
- Erectile or ejaculatory difficulties for men
- Various health conditions from eating disorders
- A variety of somatic symptoms (when a person has a significant focus on physical symptoms that may or may not exist) such as pelvic pain, stomach problems, headaches, difficulty swallowing, physical tension, etc.
- Repressing abusive events
- General memory loss
- Dissociation or depersonalization
- Anxiety disorders
- Frequent panic attacks
- Various phobias
- Feelings of disorientation
- Difficulty experiencing emotions
- Suicidal thoughts and desires
- Low self-esteem
- Intense fear and panic surrounding sexual activity
- Hypersexuality or hyposexuality
- Difficulty being physically or emotionally intimate with friends or partners
- Repeated involvement in abusive relationships
- Difficulty establishing physical or emotional boundaries
- Becoming an abuser from not receiving professional help or support
- Suicidal tendencies
- Self-harming behaviors like cutting
- Addictive behaviors to porn, alcohol, drugs, food, etc.
Why Should You File a Sexual Abuse Claim Against Boy Scouts?
Sexual abuse victims speaking up and potentially filing a Boy Scouts lawsuit is not only important for receiving justice, but for encouraging other victims to speak up as well. The more people who come forward, the more likely an organization like BSA is to change their policies to better protect children from abuse. Your speaking up can additionally prevent another child from joining BSA.
How to File a Claim Against the Boy Scouts
If you didn’t file a claim against Boy Scouts before November 16, 2020 (the deadline to file a confidential claim within the Bankruptcy court), then sexual abuse survivors should file a personal injury lawsuit. To do this, call Reich & Binstock at 713-622-7271. We’ll get your Boy Scouts lawsuit started.
Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse Compensation
The amount of personal injury compensation you could receive depends on the extent of your sexual abuse-related injuries or mental symptoms. Once you speak with a sexual abuse lawyer at Reich & Binstock, we will be able to provide you with a compensation estimate. Generally, the more severe your physical or mental effects are, the more compensation you can receive.
How are Personal Injury Damages Calculated for a Boy Scouts Lawsuit?
A Reich & Binstock lawyer will look into your financial losses (such as loss of income) and medical expenses (such as therapy bills) and calculate what your compensation should be.
Experienced BSA Lawyers
Recent reform to statutes of limitations allows even decades-old incidents to be viable in a court of law. These cases can include childhood abuse during participation in Boy Scouts.
If you or someone that you know was abused in Scouting, it’s not too late to have your voice heard. Contact Reich & Binstock for additional information about your rights and eligibility for victim’s compensation. For more information on the most recent BSA lawsuit update 2022, read our related blog.
For a free consultation, call us at 713-622-7271 or complete our confidential online form.
There is a never a fee unless we recover on your behalf.