More than 82,000 people have come forward with sex-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America, describing a decades-long accumulation of assaults at the hands of scout leaders across the nation who had been trusted as role models.
The claims, which lawyers said far eclipsed the number of abuse accusations filed in Catholic Church cases, continued to mount ahead of a Monday deadline established in bankruptcy court in Delaware, where the Boy Scouts had sought refuge this year in a bid to survive the demands for damages.
Paul Mones, a lawyer who has been working on Boy Scouts cases for nearly two decades, said the prevalence of abuse detailed in the filings was breathtaking and might reflect only a fraction of victims.
“I knew there were a lot of cases,” Mr. Mones said. “I never contemplated it would be a number close to this.”
One coalition of attorneys, operating as the group Abused in Scouting, has clients from all 50 states along with cases in which the abuse occurred overseas at places such as military bases in Japan and Germany. The accusers range in age from 8 to 93. While the vast majority are men, some women have also filed complaints.
The avalanche of claims, 82,663 of them by late Sunday, set up a monumental task for the bankruptcy case as the Boy Scouts seek to one day emerge with its operations intact.
The national organization has more than $1 billion in assets, according to its bankruptcy filing. The organization also has a network of local Boy Scouts councils that own hundreds of camps and other properties across the country where scouts can advance their skills and values along lake shores and in mountain valleys.
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SOURCE: The New York Times, Mike Baker