institutional abuse

Boy Scouts Reach Settlement in California Abuse Case

institutional abuse

Earlier this year, attorneys began opening arguments in front of a Santa Barbara courtroom in a controversial and high-profile lawsuit. The plaintiff, a 20-year-old man, was allegedly molested by a scout leader eight years ago. The leader has since been charged and is a registered sex offender. The victim filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America, and successfully petitioned that thousands of documents, informally called “the perversion files,” be released.

“In 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the Scouts to make public a trove of files from 1965 to 1985. The records showed that more than one-third of abuse allegations never were reported to police and that even when authorities were told, little was done most of the time.” Yahoo!, 27 Jan 2015.

A judge ruled in the victim’s favor, and the release of the documents during the California abuse trial was highly anticipated. Speculation regarding the content of the files, documenting instances of abuse by Scout leaders and volunteers. Yet, despite multiple court orders and appeals, the files will not be released to the public. Three days after opening arguments, the Boy Scouts of America settled the case, preventing the public release of the files.

The settlement amount has been kept confidential, and will not be released. The Boy Scouts have faces dozens of lawsuits over the past years related to these files, and some cases of abuse were documented starting in the 1920’s. It’s not clear how much they have paid to victims during that time as most lawsuits and settlements are kept confidential. In Lewis v. Boys Scouts of America et al., the victim received a $18.5 million settlement.

The Los Angeles Times has done a remarkable job of documenting and reporting the cases. You can find their complete coverage of the Boy Scouts abuse files by clicking here.

Further reading: Why Should I File a Lawsuit?

Sources: The Californian, 29 Jan 2015. Reuters, 29 Jan 2015. Yahoo!, 27 Jan 2015.
Image by Todd Quackenbush via Unsplash.