The Boy Scouts of America is facing a threat from a growing wave of lawsuits over decades-old allegations of sexual abuse.
Scouts have been sued in multiple states in recent months by purported
abuse victims, including plaintiffs taking advantage of new state laws
or court decisions that are now allowing suits previously barred because
of the age of the allegations.
More litigation is on the way.
A lawyer representing 150 people who say they were abused as Boy Scouts is planning a suit in New Jersey when the state’s new civil statute of limitations law takes effect Dec. 1. New Jersey was home to the Boy Scouts’ headquarters for about 25 years until 1978.
Among the plaintiffs is Greg Hunt, 62, of St. Petersburg, Florida. He
said he was abused during a camping trip in about 1969 in Pennsylvania,
where his family lived at the time.
“It’d be nice to have the Boy
Scouts account for their lack of ability to do the right thing,” he
said. “It would be nice for me to have the Scouts say we did wrong by
you and by these other boys and by your parents.”
The lawsuits raise the possibility that the Boy Scouts, one of the largest youth organizations in the U.S., might be staring at many millions of dollars in settlements or judgments that could lead it to declare bankruptcy, as several Roman Catholic dioceses have done amid litigation over abusive clergy.