Boy Scouts Of America Covered Up Decades Of Child Sex Abuse, Say Lawsuits

A Boy Scout listens to instruction at camp Maple Dell on July 31, 2015 outside Payson, Utah.
George Frey / Getty Images

Newsweek reports that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was hit with a new stream of lawsuits from nine plaintiffs last week. The suits are reportedly directed at the BSA in New York and Long Island and claim that the organization failed to protect them from abuse — some cases stemming all the way back to the 1950s.

According to one alleged victim identified as David, the BSA was aware of his abuser’s behavior but let him continue working with the organization.

“It’s bad enough what one individual human being does, that’s between him and God,” David told The Washington Post. “What an organization does to thousands of people, that’s between society and those people.”

“I felt honestly more incensed by their concealment than my abuse when I was a child,” he added.

The new lawsuit comes in the wake of the Child Victims Act, which took effect on August 14 and temporarily lifts that statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases — regardless of when the abuse took place.

Roll Call reports that one of the accused is former New York Rep. Gary Ackerman. A man identified as “John Doe” claims that Ackerman sexually abused him as a teenager while the former congressman was a director at Ten Mile River Scout Camp. However, Ackerman’s attorney, Oscar Michelen, claims that they are seeking to have the suit dismissed.

“In over 30 years of public service, there has never been any accusation of this kind or indeed of any wrongdoing in the Congressman’s career,” he said in a statement.

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The new lawsuits continue to suggest that the BSA has a problem with pedophilia. An earlier lawsuit seeks to unearth once-secret files, called ineligible volunteer files, that The Washington Post reports revealed more than 7,800 pedophiles in the organization’s ranks known to prey on children. Attorneys claim that the unearthed documents show that the BSA knew they had a pedophile problem and failed to alert law enforcement or warn children and their parents.

According to attorney Tim Kosnoff, the abuse continues to take place.

“Kids are still being abused in scouting,” Kosnoff said, per The Washington Post. “This is not historical.”

Newsweek reports that suspects in the child abuse cases include teachers, police officers, doctors, members of the armed forces, a child psychologist, and a mayor. The accused reportedly preyed on the young scouts most often during camping trips and church hall visits, but sometimes also in the children’s homes.