Boy Scout & Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys
In recent years, The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has come under increased scrutiny as allegations of scout leaders sexually abusing children in the program have come to light. In most cases, the boys were allegedly molested as children by scoutmasters or other volunteers entrusted to keep them safe. This pattern of abuse is similar to allegations against clergy leaders.
Childhood sexual abuse can cause lifelong detrimental impacts like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), recurring thoughts of the abuse, nightmares or flashbacks, distorted self-perception, feelings of guilt, and even physical symptoms. Further, it takes years to decades for child abuse victims to come forward with their stories. In fact, Child USA reports that the average age at which childhood sexual assault victims disclose their abuse is 52.
Historically, abuse statutes of limitations have prevented victims from receiving the compensation they deserve. Thanks to recent efforts by states to hold perpetrators accountable, however, this is starting to change. Multiple states have made efforts to increase the statute of limitations, either through an increase in the age threshold to file a claim or through the opening of a “lookback window”, or a window of time when child abuse survivors can file a civil claim no matter how old they are or how long ago the abuse occurred.
Boy Scout Abuse
The Boy Scouts of America has long been aware of the sexual abuse perpetrated against minors under its care. In fact, the organization kept files—nicknamed the “Perversion Files”—with the names of hundreds of volunteers and scout leaders facing sexual abuse allegations. But the organization repeatedly failed to report alleged offenders to the proper authorities, opting instead to handle the situation internally.
Horrifyingly, there were many cases of abusers being allowed to keep working within the BSA. Additionally, hundreds of perpetrators named in pending lawsuits do not appear on files compiled by the BSA, which reveals that far too many offenders were able to slip through the cracks. Now, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the Boy Scouts of America for sexual abuse that has spanned nearly a century.
Similar to the BSA, religious institutions have actively covered up abuse allegations against clergy leaders or hidden them under a veil of secrecy. In other cases, supervisors simply ignored warning signs as they’ve occurred.
The Roman Catholic Church, for example, followed the concept of “pontifical secret”, the highest form of confidentiality, when it came to disclosing information regarding clerical sexual abuse. Even worse, there were reports that the church destroyed documents and failed to compile records that could be used to legally prosecute the perpetrators of such abuse.
Although the Roman Catholic Church has received the greatest attention for its failure to protect child abuse victims, sexual abuse is not limited to one particular faith. Other allegations have arisen regarding sexual abuse within Southern Baptist, Protestant, United Methodist, Jewish, and Muslim congregations. Accordingly, the public call for accountability has grown.
Were You or a Loved One a Victim of Boy Scout or Clergy Sexual Abuse?
After decades of injustice, states have finally begun enacting legislation that makes it possible for victims to take action against their abusers and those who covered up the abuse. With these laws, it is becoming possible for victims of the BSA or a clergy member to obtain justice and compensation for past abuse.
Depending on where you are in the United States, it may be possible for you to finally take action that holds your abuser responsible for the harm they caused. If you or a loved one were abused at the hands of a Boy Scouts scout leader or clergy member, contact the experienced child sexual abuse attorneys at Young & Partners, LLP to discuss your legal options.
About the Firm
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Young & Partners’ practice is national in scope, as we have trusted co-counsel relationships with leading law firms in all fifty states.
Founding Partner Tom Young has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of various major disasters over the past 20 years, including the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the 2015 Volkswagen “dieselgate” emissions scandal, recent devastating hurricanes along the East Coast, and the ongoing nationwide opioid epidemic. Young holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics and a Juris Doctor, with Honors, from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. While there, Young was one of the first students awarded a Certificate in Environmental & Land Use Law. Young’s practice includes educating and assisting consumers, businesses, nonprofit organizations and government entities in understanding their rights as they pertain to losses due to negligence or disaster, in both state and federal court. Importantly, we only represent plaintiffs, not defendants, and never insurance companies.
Recently, Young turned his attention to providing legal services to individuals suffering from failed hernia mesh surgical procedures. Many such hernia mesh products on the market are subpar and fail at unacceptable rates. Young represents those who have required follow up revision surgery to remove or replace failing mesh.
He is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, the Golden Key International Honor Society, the Florida Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., the Florida Justice Association, and the American Association for Justice (formerly the Academy of Trial Lawyers of America). Young was the 2012-2018 President of the Civil Justice Foundation and a former AAJ state delegate.