Eight men who claim they were sexually abused as children by Boy Scouts of America leaders have filed a lawsuit against the organization.
The lawsuit accuses the Boys Scouts of America of rampant sexual abuse at the hands of BSA scoutmasters and other scout leaders” and “efforts to cover up the extensive evidence in its files documenting that abuse.”
“BSA created, maintained, and promoted programs that attracted pedophiles by the tens of thousands and gave these predators unsupervised access, and therefore opportunities, to prey on boys who had been entrusted to BSA’s custody and care,” the suit argues. “BSA’s programs were tailor-made for pedophiles to forge trusting relationships with boys of their desired age ranges, to exploit their positions of authority and control over the boys to commit horrific acts of sexual abuse, and to discourage boys from reporting that abuse by enforcing BSA’s core values of obedience and loyalty to scout leaders.”
One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit said that he was abused while on Scouting trips and activities for about three years. He said he trusted his alleged abuser and claims that other scout leaders didn’t do anything to stop the repeated incidents of sexual assault.
“I do feel the pain because while what happened to me was wrong and absolutely not OK, I am confident in my mind with 100 percent certainty that much worse happened to many others, which breaks my heart for them,” he said.
Another plaintiff said he was abused by an assistant Scout leader in Lake Dallas, Texas almost 30 years ago. He said he feels relieved to be part of a lawsuit that could benefit abuse victims around the country.
“The abuse occurs once you’re isolated from the rest of the group, and you stay in that isolation for years,” he said.
The Boy Scouts of America didn’t respond to the lawsuit specifically, but wrote that it is “outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our program to abuse innocent children” and that “one incident of abuse is one too many.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages for physical and emotional injuries, in addition to punitive and attorney’s fees.