The Abused in Scouting (AIS) team of lawyers have called on Congress to act, as they announced at a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 5, in Pennsylvania their first case of sexual abuse to be filed against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The plaintiff, who remains anonymous, has alleged a scout leader assaulted him hundreds of times in the 1970s. 

The legal team said the file contains the names of around 350 alleged sex abusers in BSA, spread over 48 states and the District of Columbia. Victims from North and South Dakota are the only ones who have not yet spoken with the legal team. “Each one of these 350 abusers has probably dozens of other victims who have not come forward,” said lawyer Stewart Eisenberg to reporters.“There is a crisis in the Boy Scouts,” he said, which has existed for decades. After AIS ran nationwide ads that encouraged victims of sexual abuse from BSA to speak out, more than 800 abuse survivors have courageously come forward to recount the horrific experiences they may have been keeping silent about for decades.

In this Feb. 4, 2013 file photo, shows a close up detail of a Boy Scout uniform.
Close up of a Boy Scout uniform worn during a news conference in front of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas, on Feb. 4, 2013. The Boy Scouts of America said it is exploring “all options” to address its serious financial challenges. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

Lawyer Tim Kosnoff who spoke at the news conference said: “This will sound hyperbolic, but it’s sex trafficking. It’s the largest pedophile ring on earth.”

“The kind of numbers we’re talking about now dwarf what we’ve seen in the Catholic Church cases,” said Kosnoff. He has a message to those abused by members of BSA. “We need you to come forward, otherwise the hidden predators will remain hidden and that’s gotta stop. The time has come for a full accounting of what has gone on this organization.”

“Step up Congress, do your job, if you can’t protect kids then what good are you?” said Kosnoff.

A court document in April revealed BSA had identified almost 8,000 sexual predators among its ranks, with abuse dating back to the 1940s. 

 

Boy Scouts of America. (Sirisak_baokaew/Shutterstock)

“We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice. Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in Scouting and we are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children,” the BSA said in an email to HuffPost last April. “At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers, and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement,” the BSA said.

The BSA has recently been considering bankruptcy, and this could affect the legal rights of abuse victims “their rights may be affected forever,” said Eisenberg. This caused AIS to reach out to the public with a message to come forward and tell your story.” One thing the lawyers have learned is that “the boy scouts don’t protect children,” he said.