Filing Lawsuits Over Florida Sexual Abuse of Boy Scouts
Coming forward with sexual abuse allegations is not an easy thing to do. It often resurfaces excruciating memories. Statistically, the average age for a victim of abuse to come forward is 52 years old. Many victims go their whole lives keeping this secret that they believe to be their own fault. At Dolman Law Group. we are here to stand with you and assure you that we believe you, this is not your fault, and you deserve justice no matter how many years have passed. Unfortunately, for many people, the memories of their time as a Boy Scout are far from positive. Similar to how members of the clergy have taken advantage of their position of power in the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts have been preying on children for years. Thankfully, today we live in a much more understanding world where victims are feeling more comfortable about coming forward with their stories and seeking justice for their abuse.
Holding the Boy Scouts Accountable for Sexual Abuse
In February 2020 the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy, contradicting their statement of wanting to provide justice to those that have been suffering from sexual abuse while in the organization.
By filing for bankruptcy the Boy Scouts are able to dispense their wealth throughout their local councils. Once they do this they will try and argue that the survivors are only limited to the funds that the organization directly possesses–not those that are in the hands of their local council.
The local councils hold roughly 70% of the Boy Scouts’ wealth, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Those that have been waiting years to come forward with their stories and to receive justice and are now forced to not only relive these painful experiences but do so in an exceptionally short amount of time.
According to the original bankruptcy filing, Boy Scouts of America stated that it only owns roughly $70 million in various properties. However, it was found that in just the state of New York alone, the councils’ property there totals to $101 million.
While the organization states that the councils are separate legal entities, there was a Supreme court ruling in 2000 that does not support that claim. In Boy Scouts of America vs. Dale, the Supreme court ruled that the Boy Scouts have the right to exclude gay leaders and members from local councils. The Boy Scouts of America national also has the right, stated in their bylaws, to shut down a local council and use their property for whatever purpose they would like. This refutes the organizations previous statement that they are separate from the local councils.
The Role of the Courts in Boy Scouts of America Allegations
Boy Scouts of America has been facing allegations and cases against them for longer than people might realize.
One of the most notable lawsuits against the organization was Lewis v. Boys Scouts of America et al. In 2010, Kerry Lewis, a former boy scout in the 1980s, alleged that his then scout leader, Timur Dykes, abused him during his time as a boy scout. Though Dykes had even admitted in 1983 to one of his superiors that he molested 17 boy scouts, there were no consequences. Dykes was able to continue to work for the Boy Scouts and went on to molest Kerry Lewis.
Clearly, The Boy Scouts of America have continuously displayed extreme negligence, doing nothing to protect the children in their care. Because of this, Kerry Lewis was awarded $18.5 million dollars from the organization, becoming the largest punitive damages awarded in a child abuse case in the United States.
As a result of Lewis vs. Boy Scouts of America, files were revealed in court papers, known as the Perversion List. This list shows more than 12,000 cases of molestation were found, along with 7,800 abusers. This has been going on since the 1920s and even has cases as recent as the 1980s. With the latest date shown on the list being 1985. It is still in question just how many sexual predators are still active and lurking within the Boy Scouts.
Men and Sexual Abuse Statistics
According to 1in6, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, 1 in 6 men have suffered from sexual abuse. Even though that number may be hard to believe, it is likely even higher. Not only do men not often share their experiences of sexual abuse, they often do not realize they have even been victims.
When someone is sexually abused, the memories do not just stay in their mind. The pain they endured can leave a person with life-long emotional and physical mental conditions. When this happens there is no simple fix, they can only learn to manage these symptoms and try and cope with them.
Sexual abuse trauma can present itself in a multitude of ways, such as:
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts
- Gastrointestinal health disorders
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Chronic pain
- Problems with intimacy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- and many others
What if the Abuse Happened Years Ago?
With the number of victims that have been coming forward with sexual abuse cases, states have begun to rethink their statutes of limitations. Memories of abuse can be repressed for years before ever coming to the surface and in many cases that is not until adulthood. Not only has Florida extended their states statute of limitation but many other states have sought out to do the same thing
In just one year, 29 states began taking action to reform their sexual abuse statutes of limitations. There is also a law known as the revival window, or the “look-back” law, which allows for adults to come forward and file their sexual abuse claim and seek compensation for their injuries.
A civil case is still able to be made despite the abuse having occurred a decade ago or longer. Contacting a personal injury attorney right away is crucial, not matter how much time has passed or when you remembered it.
Additionally, The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached by calling 800-656-HOPE (4673).
There are many free services that this hotline offers including:
- Support in finding resources in your state, including long term support, or a sexual assault forensics team
- Confidential and caring support from trained professionals
- Basic information about medical concerns
Boy Scout Sexual Abuse: You Are Not Alone
Even though The Boy Scouts of America has continuously failed to stop these tragedies from happening, justice is still being brought to light thanks to the numerous brave people coming forward with their stories.
Dolman Law Group provides the expert legal representation of a large firm while giving you the small firm attention you deserve. If you or someone you love has been a victim of sexual abuse, please do not hesitate to call for a free consultation. By enlisting our legal assistance, you may be able to receive compensation for the damages and suffering you have been subjected to.
Sexual assault and other similar crimes do not just affect the individual who had to endure that crime, but also their families and loved ones. After being hidden in the shadows of a corrupt organization, we want to help you step into the light. At Dolman Law Group we know it is not your fault, we believe you. You deserve justice and we will have your back.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765