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Boy Scout councils face lawsuits in upstate New York

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The troubles continue for the Boy Scouts of America and will not stop until all matters related to its decades-long sexual abuse of thousands of boys concludes. But when will that happen? Not any time soon, especially with recent lawsuits in upstate New York.

Filed on May 18, the nine lawsuits against Boy Scout councils in the state are the latest of what promises to be hundreds more legal cases against the organization. Plaintiffs in the cases were Scouts decades ago and allege sexual abuse from scoutmasters and leaders. The organization faces many more lawsuits throughout New York, New Jersey, California and other states.

New York’s Child Victims Act comes into play

The Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February in what critics contend was a move to fend off endless lawsuits. The expected onslaught of lawsuits originates with state laws such as New York’s Child Victims Act, allowing people to sue in cases involving long-ago sexual abuse.

According to Boy Scouts files disclosed in the courts, more than 12,000 boys were molested by nearly 8,000 predators during a 70-year period from the 1920s through 1980s. All of these crimes occurred before the organization implemented criminal background checks, prevention training and updated guidelines for Boy Scout staff and volunteers.

The organization is currently embroiled in legal proceedings in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. The objective in the case is to create a compensation fund for the victims abused as youngsters decades ago.

Federal bankruptcy judge Laurie Selber Silverstein has issued an injunction through June 8, preventing attorneys from pursuing legal action against local Boy Scout councils such as the upstate New York councils recently named in the nine lawsuits. Those councils have since merged into three: the Leatherstocking Council, Baden-Powell Council and Seneca Waterways Council.

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