More than 82,000 people have accused the Boy Scouts of America of sexual abuse ahead of a Monday night deadline in court regarding the organization’s bankruptcy filing, which it enacted in February in response to mounting sex-abuse claims.
The New York Times reports that the vast majority of those alleging abuse at the hands of scout leaders are men, though some of the claimants are women. Their ages range from 8 to 93. Much of the alleged abuse occurred decades ago. The Delaware court gave accusers till Monday to come forward with their claims.
According to lawyer Paul Mones, who’s worked on Scouts cases for almost 20 years, the avalanche of claims might only represent a fraction of victims.
In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America said regarding its bankruptcy filing:
We intentionally developed an open, accessible process to reach survivors and help them take an essential step toward receiving compensation. The response we have seen from survivors has been gut wrenching. We are deeply sorry.
The Times reported previously that the Scouts’ bankruptcy filing indicated more than $1 billion in assets and $500 million to $1 billion in liabilities.
The staggering number of abuse claims far eclipse those against the Catholic Church, according to the Times. Until 2015, the Boy Scouts of America did not allow openly gay men to be scout leaders (the organization dropped its ban on gay scouts in 2013). The Catholic Church’s institutionalized homophobia is well established. All that exclusion and yet so much abuse. That’s protesting too much, defined.