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Lawyer Claims 'Probably 100,000' Boy Scouts Have Been Sexually Abused

Gettyimages | AmyKerk
By Michael Coe

A massive wave of lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America has led to the organization filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy of a youth organization in US history. A new statement issued by a lawyer who is representing plaintiffs in the case against the Boy Scouts has alleged that, with new victims coming forward every day, an estimated "100,000" scouts may have been victims of sexual abuse, although the actual suits filed against the Scouts currently number in the hundreds.

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The Scouts have stated that they are filing for bankruptcy in order to “to equitably compensate victims while ensuring Scouting continues across the country.” By filing for bankruptcy, it appears that the Boy Scouts are looking to protect their assets and continue to operate their chapters in spite of the potential losses that might be incurred by the wave of abuse suits. Victim's-rights attorney Peter Janci stated, “the hope is for a fresh start and to continue the organization without these abuse claims hanging over their heads.”

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Sexual abuse cases against the Boy Scouts have a long history, with roughly 2,000 abuse cases reported before the mid-1990s. The Scouts have struggled for decades in an attempt to control the issue and in 1988 instituted the Youth Protection Program, which forces Scout leaders to undergo training and criminal background checks to help prevent predators from entering Scout ranks. Although these measures are thought to have been somewhat effective, there are still instances of abuse as recent as 2018.

Gettyimages | Tom Pennington

The potential liability of the mounting lawsuits against the Scouts is massive. A single case filed against the Scouts in 2010 cost the organization $20 million in damages. Although the Scouts have previously operated with the protection of insurance, many of its old insurance carriers have withdrawn support from the organization under the premise that the Scouts have kept information about abuse within the organization private. Bankruptcy will aid the Scouts in handling the financial devastation brought about by its mounting lawsuits.

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Many attorneys have encouraged victims to continue coming forward and have issued warnings towards organizations accused of similar abuse. Peter Janci told Rolling Stone, "the voices of victims have not even been fully heard yet. There needs to be an opportunity to hear from them.” Attorney Paul Mones stated, "if the largest youth organization by far in the United States can be crippled under the weight of doing nothing about their sexual abuse allegations and covering the problem up, I think it is a warning shot across the bow to all churches and youth organizations and schools that have this problem and don't act proactively to resolve it."

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