Tips on Filing a Child Sexual Abuse Claim with the Boy Scouts of America
Victims of child sexual abuse who experienced abuse while in the Boy Scouts need to keep one date in mind: November 16, 2020. Claims filed through the organization’s bankruptcy proceedings must be received by that date to be eligible for potential compensation through the Boy Scouts victims’ fund.
After that date, the only recourse for victims will be to file personal injury lawsuits, and it’s unclear whether these will be allowed to proceed against the national organization because it’s involved in bankruptcy proceedings.
Who Should File a Claim with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)?
Anyone who suffered from child sexual abuse within the BSA is eligible to file a claim. It doesn’t matter when the abuse occurred or who in the organization committed the abuse. Possible perpetrators include Boy Scout troop leaders as well as assistant leaders, camp employees, volunteers, and personnel involved in related organizations such as the Explorers, Sea Scouts, and Venturing.
Eligible survivors include:
- Those who experienced abuse, even if the claim is barred under statutes of limitations.
- Anyone who called the Scouts First Hotline or otherwise reported a claim of abuse.
- Those who never filed a lawsuit, entered a settlement, or reported abuse.
- Those who did receive settlements before, but believe they have additional claims.
To file a claim, victims need to fill out the Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim form, which will ask for information including the following:
- Your name and basic information (address, education, employment)
- Your history as a member of the Boy Scouts
- The name of your abuser
- Information regarding the abuse—what happened, where and when it took place
- Description of the harm you’ve suffered as a result of the abuse (mental/physical health problems, reduced ability to work or engage in healthy relationships, etc.)
The information included on the form will be used to help counsel and the court determine the legal merit of the claim and will be kept confidential. There is no harm in filing a claim. Some may be denied, after which you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Others will be accepted and claimants will receive payouts from the BSA victims’ fund. It’s unclear at this time how much those payouts will be. The exact amount will be determined based on the organization’s total assets and the amount of money it owes to other entities.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Boy Scouts Claim?
You can file the claim on your own if you like, by simply filling out the form. There are instances, however, where a personal injury attorney may be helpful.
If you can’t remember all the details of the case, for instance, or are unsure as to what information you should include on the form, an attorney can guide you. Even if the incident happened long ago, victims are still encouraged to file a claim and to seek out legal assistance if needed—that’s a better option than not filing a claim at all.
An experienced individual may also be able to help you increase your odds of having your claim accepted, as he or she will have previous knowledge of victims’ compensation funds like this one.