Lawsuits Target Boy Scouts of America in Sexual Abuse Scandal
Controversy surrounds the Boy Scouts of America as new information reveals the extent of the problem. 800 men from all across the U.S. are alleging that they were the victims of sexual assault while they were Boy Scouts. Among the named defendants are the Boy Scouts of America organization which is based in Texas.
Since the Boy Scouts are an organization, they are liable for the conduct of their employees and even volunteers. With more than 1 million volunteers in the organization, that’s a lot of liability. The question then becomes: Did the organization itself do something to encourage or look the other way these scandals became known.
Ineligible Volunteer Files
The Oregon Supreme Court has ordered the release of files known as “ineligible volunteer files” that acknowledge the existence of predatory behavior and pedophilia within the organization. These files date as far back as 1919. Attorneys for the plaintiffs claim these files fail to show the extent of the problem and point to their own clients who have accused men whose names do not appear there.
In an apparent admission of guilt, the BSA released a press memo that stated that the organization has not always conducted itself in accord with its principles of safety toward its scouts. In a scandal that is reminiscent of the Catholic Church abuse, the general trend in these cases is to settle them quietly and under seal.
However, the BSA is not a multi-billion-dollar institution. As a non-profit, the BSA brings in about $780 million annually.
BSA Claims New Policies are In Place to Protect Scouts
Today, the BSA says that they have several policies in place that are there to protect scouts. These include mandatory background checks, a volunteer-screening database, and a firm policy on leaving a scout alone with one troop member. They also say that they report any suspicion of abuse promptly to law enforcement.
However, a memorandum dated to 1972 indicates a completely different process for managing such a situation. This included a full investigation of the charges and a letter informing the scout leader that they are not welcome back with no explanation why.
Statute of Limitation in Sex Abuse Cases
Many states are now lifting statutes of limitations on civil actions in sex crime cases. In Texas, victims, especially child victims, have an extended period of time during which they can file a civil action against a perpetrator or an organization. An adult has five years from the date of the assault while a child has 15 years from the date of their 18th birthday. In a typical personal injury lawsuit, a victim has two years from the date of the incident to file a claim against the perpetrator or their institution.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault, you can recover damages not only from the perpetrator, but their employer as well. Companies and institutions have vicarious liability for their drivers, daycare staff, church leaders, coaches, and more. The Houston personal injury lawyers at Livingston & Flowers, P.L.L.C. helps victims get justice. Call us today.