Its image as a safe and wholesome refuge for boys now shattered, the Boy Scouts of America may soon be held accountable for sexual abuse within its ranks. Shocking numbers have come to light concerning the extent of the abuse.
The organization has long been plagued by accusations of sexual abuse against troop leaders and other adults. Previous investigations have revealed tens of thousands of pages in internal documents, dubbed the “perversion files,” that evidence a widespread pattern of abuse going back decades. And now it appears that the abuse took place on a much larger scale than previously thought.
The shocking numbers
According to reports from an independent Boy Scouts auditor, the files detail allegations concerning nearly 8,000 perpetrators – hundreds of whom were active in New York and New Jersey. And the total number of victims? More than 12,000.
A chance for victims to be heard
The news comes soon after the enactment of the New York Child Victims Act in February. This landmark legislation grants adult victims of childhood sexual abuse an opportunity to seek justice in civil courts. It’s a huge step forward for helping victims heal. It’s also an invaluable way to secure accountability, shining a light of transparency on the dark corners of powerful organizations that have long engaged in denials and coverups.
However, the law provides only a limited window of time for victims whose claims would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations. As a result, it’s important for victims to act quickly so their voices can be heard.