- Sexual Assault
- Boy Scout Sexual Abuse
NYC Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Lawyer
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) benefited from a wholesome image of children playing in the great outdoors and learning solid values. But behind that visage was a darker story. One that sheltered and hid pedophiles.
Victims of child sexual abuse face immediate and long-term impacts. They are more vulnerable to mental health problems and often face life challenges. In the documentary “Leave No Trace,” victims in their 60s and 70s still endure pain and suffering from their ordeal.
Whether your child suffered abuse at the hands of a BSA volunteer or you’re an adult dealing with the impacts of past abuse, you do not need to face BSA sexual abuse alone. The NYC boy scout sexual abuse lawyers at Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm will help you fight for justice.
We can’t reverse past trauma, but we can make the future easier. Civil damages can cover therapy and medical expenses to help you or your child thrive again.
Call 212-869-3500 today or contact us online for a free consultation.
How does the NY Child Victims Act impact my claim?
The recent New York Child Victims Act offers improved legal options for survivors of child sexual abuse. Its essential changes to New York law include:
- A one-year lookback period where child sexual abuse survivors could file a claim, regardless of their age or when the statute of limitations expired (ended August 14, 2021)
- Allowing those who suffered sexual abuse as minors to file lawsuits anytime before their 55th birthday
- Parents or victims can bring criminal charges up until the victim’s 28th birthday
You qualify to file a claim under the Child Victims Act if:
- You survived childhood sexual assault
- You face mental, physical, or emotional injuries due to that abuse
Does the Child Victims Act apply to sexual abuse claims involving the BSA?
Yes. The law extends to organizations like the BSA and expands the statute of limitations so survivors have more time to pursue their abusers. As indicated above, sexual assault survivors have until their 55th birthday to file a lawsuit.
Many survivors waited decades to come forward. They noted that hearing other testimonials about abuse and knowing they weren’t alone helped them face what happened to them.
These stories are why many states, including New York, expanded the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse claims.
How common is sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts?
It’s difficult to assess how common sexual abuse is in the BSA. Since assailants intimidated victims so they wouldn’t report the abuse, the numbers are likely underestimated.
But they keep growing. When the civil claims first started, 12,254 survivors of sexual abuse came forward. These cases were distributed among at least 7,800 suspects between 1944 and 2016. When the BSA agreed to an $850 million settlement in 2021, they paid out to 84,000 claimants.
While the BSA is considered “safer,” its child protection policies are criticized. So, more victims may haven’t joined sexual abuse lawsuits yet.
As survivors came forward about their experiences, more sinister information emerged. For example, the organization kept files on “ineligible volunteers,” aka “the I.V. files.” Also called the “perversion files,” these records contained the names and details of volunteers who were likely pedophiles. Yet, the organization never reported its crimes to the police.
It was also common for the BSA to move problematic scoutmasters, scout leaders, and other volunteers to other troops and camps, which invited comparisons to the Catholic Church.
Even after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy payout of more than $2.4 billion, there is a likelihood the BSA still hasn’t learned its lesson. According to Michael Johnson, a former youth protection director at the BSA, the BSA is “safer” but not quite a safe place.
Boy Scout sexual abuse claims: There is no shame in coming forward
The BSA issued a statement in August 2019 which indicated that the organization didn’t handle child sex abuse cases correctly and that this neglect started in its earliest years.
They stated: “We care deeply about all victims of abuse, and sincerely apologize to anyone harmed during their time in scouting […] We believe victims, we support them, and we encourage them to come forward.”
The BSA has shown a better willingness to face this dark past and hold errant troop leaders accountable in recent years. So, parents must recognize early warning signs of sexual abuse and address them.
What are the possible symptoms of sexual abuse in children?
According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, sexual abuse causes various emotional, psychological, and behavioral reactions. While the results are often devastating, many children recover fully if they receive treatment and emotional support. The earlier that starts–the better.
If your child is a member of the Boy Scouts or any other large organization for children, look out for these symptoms of abuse:
- Sleep disturbances, including nightmares
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and favorite activities
- Periods of rage and outbursts
- Adverse reactions to particular individuals
- Inappropriate sexual knowledge and behavior for their age
- Talk of their body being “hurt” or “dirty”
Older children may engage in high-risk and destructive behaviors after abuse. These include:
- Substance abuse
- Unnecessary risks
- Suicidal ideation
Long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse
When children don’t receive treatment and support, they struggle as adults. Survivors featured in “Leave No Trace” discussed rage (often directed at undeserving loved ones), difficulty keeping employment, divorce, and family stress.
Long-term mental health and emotional impacts include:
- Difficulties with relationships and intimacy
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Insomnia, night terrors, and other sleep disorders
- Personality disorders
There is a lot of emphasis on psychological impacts, but there are physical issues too. Survivors may face physical conditions due to childhood sexual trauma, including:
- Chronic pain
- Reproductive health issues
- Reduced sexual function
- Gastrointestinal conditions
- Heart disease
If you are an adult survivor, treatment can still help you. Many survivors find their mental and physical health much more manageable after they connect with other survivors and start counseling. Even if you’ve suppressed the memories, they can still affect you. Find help as soon as you can.
Did you or your child suffer abuse by a Scoutmaster, Scout Leader, or Other Volunteer of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)?
Once you discover your child suffered abuse, you must act immediately. While the experience is often harrowing and leads you to question your judgment, you must put your child’s health and safety first.
Take these steps to start the process:
- Pull your child from scouting, so they don't face further abuse.
- Arrange a pediatrician appointment. The doctor can assess symptoms and document abuse signs.
- Report the abuse to the boy scouts organization, police, and Child Protective Services.
- Reach out to other parents and see if their children also show symptoms
- Call the National Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 422-4453 for more resources
Legal action may be your next step. While filing a lawsuit and receiving monetary damages doesn’t make the abuse disappear, they can pay for medical and psychological treatment. Those can help your child thrive again, despite what happened to them.
How much is my abuse claim against the Boy Scouts worth?
Lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have led the BSA to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. During the proceeding, the court approved a $2.46 billion reorganization plan allowing survivors' payments.
Abuse survivors received payments from $3,500 to $2.7 million based on the severity of the abuse and where and when it occurred.
Those numbers give you an idea of the value of your Boy Scout sexual abuse claim; however, we can’t guarantee any amount.
Your compensation will depend on the following factors.
Medical expenses include treatment for physical injuries and future medical treatment in severe cases. Doctor appointments, infection treatment, and emergency room visits fall under this category.
Medical bills, prescription receipts, and insurance coverage statements provide evidence of these expenses.
You likely need to take time off work to address your mental health and your child’s needs. It can take a while to jump through reporting hoops and arrange for medical and psychological treatment for your child. We prove lost wages by showing your pay statements before and after the abuse.
Mental Health Care
Your child needs counseling and mental health support to see the other side of this ordeal. The sooner you start it, the better. Your pediatrician can likely refer you to a counselor or child psychologist specializing in sexual abuse treatment.
Unfortunately, mental health expenses are high. Your health insurance may not cover it as thoroughly as medical treatment, and you may incur a balance or pay for most of it out-of-pocket. Fortunately, civil claims include these costs, so looking out for your child doesn’t put you in unmanageable debt.
Pain and Suffering
This category is much more subjective. It places a monetary value on quality of life impacts, emotional struggles, mental strife, and physical pain and anguish. You can document these damages by encouraging your child to talk about their feelings or use counseling notes to show the depths of their struggles.
How can a NYC Boy Scout sexual abuse attorney help?
First, please know that our attorneys don’t handle criminal charges. We help you file a civil lawsuit that seeks damages for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other losses.
The city prosecutor brings criminal charges to punish the offenders in sexual abuse cases. You can encourage this process by pressing charges and being available to give information and testify.
Our team of sexual abuse attorneys will help you by:
- Investigating the incident and finding witnesses
- Acting as a buffer between you, the BSA, and their insurance company
- Determining who is liable, e.g., the BSA, troop leader, scoutmaster, etc.
- Confront the BSA and the insurance company to hold them responsible
- Help you choose charges to press for the criminal proceedings, and give you a heads-up on what to expect
- Preserve evidence in case your child wishes to pursue civil damages when they’re older
- Go to trial on your behalf
The good news is, the BSA took a big hit on its reputation, and they likely want to end these lawsuits as soon as possible. We can use this to our advantage to settle out of court and make it easier for sexual abuse victims and their loved ones to move forward.
Get help now! Discuss your claim with an experienced New York City Boy Scout sexual abuse lawyer today
The benefits of scouting are immense. But they become submerged when you face the breach of trust caused by sexual abuse.
Adult and child victims of the BSA’s poor practices need support to continue healing and regain their sense of self and security.
We know we can’t make the trauma go away or press a restart button like the abuse never happened. But our efforts may secure money, so another person’s criminal offense doesn’t financially devastate you. That can make this painful experience easier to manage.
Our personal injury attorneys work hard to hold boy scout leaders, scoutmasters, and any other volunteers involved in the abuse accountable for their actions. You can count on us to handle your case with expertise and compassion.
Call the NYC Boy Scout sexual abuse lawyers at Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm at 212-869-3500, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.