Tag: Boy Scouts of America

Why are abuse Boy Scouts coming forward now?

Why Are Abused Boy Scouts Coming Forward Now?

Today’s New York Times reports that more than 82,000 individuals report having been sexually abused in the Boy Scouts.

That’s staggering. That’s supposedly more child sex crimes than in the Catholic church (though solid numbers about predators and victims is notoriously hard to come by.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/15/us/boy-scouts-abuse-claims-bankruptcy.html?searchResultPosition=1

To what can so much abuse – and so many victims stepping forward – be attributed?

At least some answers to the first question – why so much abuse – are clear

–Predators surely were tempted to become scout leaders because of the countless opportunities for close contact with kids. Hikes, camp-outs, sleepovers tended to happen in small, often two-person tents in remote locations. And few passersby would find it odd or troubling to see an adult scout leader with his hand on a boy’s leg teaching him to bandage a cut or on a boy’s waist showing him how to stand properly when shooting an arrow from a bow.

–Young men can become scout leaders (or more often, assistant scout masters) at the age of eighteen.

–The requirements and time frames to be given scout leadership posts are much less and much quicker than in other occupations near kids (teachers, ministers, police officers, etc.)

–Many parents prod socially inept or shy or unpopular kids into joining the Scouts, the precise kinds of youngsters who are most vulnerable to predators.

–There are more scoutmasters and assistant scoutmasters in the US than there are priests (According to Wikipedia, there are roughly 2.7 million scouts in troops across the US overseen by 800,000 volunteer adult leaders)

So why so many victims stepping forward now? Several reasons:

–The Catholic abuse and cover up crisis spawned groups like SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which showed many adults (men in particular) that there’s no real shame in having been fooled and violated by a trusted adult.

–The #MeToo movement, though largely involving women, has given many permission to re-examine abuse they suffered and to speak about it and take action.

In particular, the Scouts’ bankruptcy

–has virtually no time constraints (so claimants can and do go back decades and decades).

–is set up so that sexual abuse is broadly defined – so for example scout leaders who exposed themselves to youngsters or showed them pornography (even without physical touch) are included.

-attracts, because of its nationwide scope, very large law firms who are accustomed to mass tort cases (like pharmaceuticals and product liability cases) which have done widespread advertising and effective marketing.

But of course all the hard work and advertising in the world would be meaningless if not for the brave victims who are looking inward, summoning their strength, picking up the phone, sharing their pain, and seeking help from independent sources.

So we at Horowitz Law applaud every one of the 82,000 men and women who have so far helped shine a healing light on abuse and cover ups in this widespread, once-universally popular organization.

What now?

If we may offer some advice to these courageous scout survivors. Get organized! Look to the inspiring work done by Catholic survivors who’ve gotten together under the banner of SNAP, an extraordinarily effective group.  For more than 30 years, SNAP’s volunteer local leaders, mostly survivors themselves, have pushed for statute of limitations (SOL) reform in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, Colorado, New York, Delaware, Missouri, Guam, Hawaii, Washington DC and elsewhere.

They’ve publicly denounced backsliding on SOL laws in states like South Dakota.

https://www.snapnetwork.org/child_sex_victims_blast_sd_legislative_panel

They’ve also advocated for state RICO laws and tougher mandatory reporting laws.

They’ve written parole boards urging that predators be kept behind bars.

But perhaps most valuable of all: They’ve provided a safe, welcoming and inclusive place for deeply wounded individuals to band together and get healing. They’ve given frustrated survivors a productive, safe outlet for their pain and anger.

And they’ve made a huge difference for kids.

But only because they’ve been smart and persistent and joined forces.

We at Horowitz Law hope survivors in scouting and other institutional settings do likewise.

Boy Scout Leaders and Clergymen Have More in Common Than You May Know

Like many clergy, Scout leaders are often thought of as selfless men, generously sharing their time and talent with youngsters.

Like many clergy, they often have seemingly legitimate reasons to be alone with kids.

Like many clergy, Scout leaders belong to a rigid, male-dominated, hierarchical group.

Like many clergy, they are often seen as ‘good influences’ on kids, especially troubled kids.

Like many clergy, they often wear decorated uniforms that enhance their seemingly superior images.

Like many clergy, Scout leaders sometimes posture as ‘pillars of the community,’ which makes reporting wrongdoing even tougher.

Like many clergy, Scout leaders care deeply about their institution and its reputation and public relations.

Like many clergy, Scout leaders are surrounded by peers and superiors who feel a strong temptation to ignore, hide or minimize wrongdoing.

And tragically, like many clergy, many Scout leaders have hurt the children they purportedly serve, leaving deep and permanent scars.

Almost as tragically, like many clergy, many Scout leaders were known or suspected child molesters but were left in place by colleagues and supervisors who found it easier to ‘hear no, speak no, see no’ evil, rather than courageously confront, report and stop evil in their midst.

The result: thousands of devastated lives and stolen childhoods and avoidable lifelong suffering.

Just how widespread is all this? “The Boy Scouts have long kept confidential files on volunteers who were credibly accused of abuse. One expert hired by the organization found that there had been nearly 8,000 complaints over a span of decades,” reports the New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/23/nyregion/boy-scouts-sex-abuse.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/19/us/boy-scouts-bankruptcy-assets.html?searchResultPosition=4

The dam began to break more than a decade ago, when a brave man, Kerry Lewis found a brave attorney, Kelly Clark. (Clark has since passed away, without seeing the full fruit of his ground-breaking work to expose wrongdoing in Scouting).

According to one news account, Lewis “said he had been molested by an assistant scoutmaster, Timur Dykes, in the early 1980s. Mr. Dykes, who had served time for child abuse, had admitted to a Mormon bishop that he had molested several scouts. The bishop alerted the families of Mr. Dykes’s victims but did not warn the other boys in the troop or the authorities. Mr. Dykes was soon able to volunteer with the Scouts again.”

“They knew that their charismatic assistant scout leader Timur Dykes, to whom kids flocked like bees to honey, had admitted to molesting 17 scouts, including Cub Scouts,” said Mr. Clark.

Then, exactly a decade ago, the pair won this pivotal case at the Oregon Supreme Court.

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/us/kelly-clark-a-lawyer-who-won-a-pivotal-abuse-case-against-the-boy-scouts-dies-at-56.html?searchResultPosition=1

“Crucial to the suit’s success were more than 12,000 pages of internal Boy Scout documents that implicated more than 1,200 scout leaders in sexual abuse from 1965 to 1985,” wrote the New York Times. “They also revealed an organizational practice of handling such accusations internally and minimizing publicity. Lawyers for the Boy Scouts said the files were kept confidential to protect the victims.

Two years later, news organizations, including The Oregonian, The Associated Press and The New York Times, demanded that the files be made public. The Boy Scouts filed a motion to prevent their release, but the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the public had a right to see them.

Thousands of victims have since stepped forward, taking back the power that was ripped from them as boys.

How has the national Scouting organization responded to this flood of long-overdue abuse and cover up lawsuits?

Sadly, like Catholic officials, it has cried ‘bankruptcy,’ and is exploiting Chapter 11 laws to evade responsibility and keep the truth concealed.

Still, those who were betrayed and abused in Scout troops and camps across the U.S. can achieve some measure of justice, healing and closure through the legal process.

We at Horowitz Law already represent over two hundred former Scouts making abuse claims in the bankruptcy court against the Boys Scouts of America. We stand ready to help you too.

Horowitz Law is Now Investigating Cases Involving Alan Morris and the Boy Scouts

Alan Richard Morris Horowitz law

In January 1987, Alan Richard Morris pleaded guilty in a Florida court to multiple counts of sexual misconduct involving four young boys.  Morris, an Assistant Scoutmaster and Webelos Den Leader with the Boy Scouts of America, often held “special” Boy Scout meetings at his home where he would show his Scouts pornography and teach them to masturbate.  Sometimes, Morris brought boys into a separate room to engage them in more serious sexual contact.

According to court documents, Morris was charged for incidents occurring between July 1985 and March 1986.  The victims identified in the charging documents ranged in age from 12 to 15.  They were all members of Boy Scout Troop 86, chartered by the First Baptist Church in Cape Coral.

Morris, a married father of five children at the time, told his victims that his wife would leave him or divorce him if she found out about the misconduct.  He swore them to secrecy by making them think that they would all get in trouble if anyone found out.

An arrest warrant was issued for Morris in the summer of 1986, but he fled to Maine before he could be arrested by Florida law enforcement.  He was eventually arrested in Maine and extradited back to Cape Coral to stand trial in August 1986.

According to the Boy Scouts’ secret Ineligible Volunteer (IV) file for Morris, he resided at 1618 Viscaya Parkway in Cape Coral at the time of the misconduct.  Morris’ IV file was one of many files that a Court ordered the Boy Scouts to produce in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts for sexual abuse.

The Boy Scouts of America filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020 as a result of numerous lawsuits filed against it for sexual abuse of children by Scoutmasters and others.  Horowitz Law represents victims of Alan Morris and many other adult volunteers in the bankruptcy proceeding.  We can help you too, but you must contact us today to discuss your options.  Strict filing deadlines have now been set by the bankruptcy court and if you miss the deadlines, you may miss out on your very last chance to hold the Boy Scouts accountable for what happened to you.  Contact us now.

Attorney Adam Horowitz and his team of attorneys handle sexual abuse cases against the Boy Scouts of America at both the local and national level in your state and nationwide.  If you or someone you know was molested during their participation in the Boy Scouts, email Horowitz Law or call us toll-free at (888) 283-9922 now.  The Boy Scouts have filed for federal bankruptcy protection.  Strict filing deadlines have been set by the United States Bankruptcy Court.  Do not risk missing out on your very last chance to hold the Boy Scouts accountable for its misconduct and deliberate decisions to put boys like you at risk. 

Boy Scouts Bankruptcy Horowitz Law

Filing Deadline Set for Nov. 16 in Boy Scouts Bankruptcy

Earlier today, the United States Bankruptcy Court set November 16, 2020, as the final deadline for the filing of sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America.  The Boy Scouts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year to resolve all of the pending sexual abuse claims against the national organization.

Contrary to what you might think, a bankruptcy filing does not mean the Boy Scouts are broke: it means the Boy Scouts national organization is asking for the Bankruptcy Court for help resolving the rest of the sexual abuse claims against it.  Its assets will be allocated among all of its creditors, including an unknown number of sexual abuse claimants, who are both known and unknown at this time.

It is also a means by which the Boy Scouts organization can continue to protect itself and its secrets, and, for that reason it is often criticized by survivor advocates and attorneys.  The Boy Scouts will not likely have to publicize any more of the secret “ineligible volunteer” files kept by the headquarters on countless leaders and volunteers accused of molesting kids in the Boy Scouts organization, for example. In 2012, the Boy Scouts were court-ordered to release documents relating to more than 1200 allegations of abuse received by the national headquarters between 1965 and 1985 – and that disclosure amounted to more than 20,000 pages of documents for that relatively short period of time.

According to its own records, the Boy Scouts are aware of more than 12,000 sexual abuse allegations against 7,800 adults affiliated with the Boy Scouts since the organization was founded in the 1920s.  For more information on why sexual abuse became such a problem with the Boy Scouts, visit our page on our Boy Scouts practice area.

The November 16 filing deadline is also referred to as a “bar date” in bankruptcy law.  It is a strict, non-negotiable deadline by which all existing claims must be filed against the Boy Scouts or claimants will be forever barred from seeking relief in the future.

According to the Boy Scouts’ attorneys, they expect that more than half the claims will be filed by men over the age of 50, and have developed a plan to notify more than 100 million people in an effort to inform them of the November 16 deadline.

For survivors of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts, this filing deadline likely means that even if your state lawmakers extend the statute of limitations and otherwise allow you to file a lawsuit in the state where you were abused, your claim will be forever barred by the bankruptcy bar date.  That makes it critically important for anyone who was victimized by an adult associated with the Boy Scouts to contact competent counsel as soon as possible to discuss your options: the fact is that you probably won’t have any options after November 16.  This includes people abused in New York, New Jersey, California and many other states where lawmakers recently opened windows allowing for the filing of lawsuits even where the statute of limitations had previously expired.

The November 16 deadline is a strict filing deadline set by the Court and will not likely be extended by the Court for any reason.  Therefore, you should contact us immediately for a free and confidential consultation about your legal options as a survivor of abuse in the Boy Scouts.

Attorney Adam Horowitz and his team of attorneys handle sexual abuse cases against the Boy Scouts of America at both the local and national level in your state and nationwide.  If you or someone you know was molested during their participation in the Boy Scouts, email Horowitz Law or call us toll-free at (888) 283-9922 now.  Strict filing deadlines have been set by the United States Bankruptcy Court.  Do not risk missing out on your very last chance to hold the Boy Scouts accountable for its misconduct and deliberate decisions to put boys at risk. Contact us today.

bankruptcy diocese horowitz law

Dioceses. Boy Scouts. USA Gymnastics: The Real Reason They’re Crying “BANKRUPTCY”

Increasingly, venerable institutions like the Boy Scouts, the USA Gymnastics and Catholic dioceses say they are going into bankruptcy because of child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits.

So maybe it’s time to re-think those suits and the laws that enable them?

To put it bluntly, that’s a crazy idea. Bear with us as we explain.

For starters, let’s look more closely at why big non-profits like this sometimes seek Chapter 11 protection.

Are they being “forced to” (as some headline writers suggest)? Or are they doing so for selfish reasons?

Our bet is the latter.

Most who declare bankruptcy do so because it’s undeniable that their expenses have and may continue to rise. Why? Because they’ve been and sometimes still are short-sighted and selfish regarding abuse.

But look at these crystal-clear facts about the hierarchies of these institutions..

–Most of the costs of these lawsuits are covered by insurance. In other words, these institutions have ALREADY paid out because of abuse, on the front end.

(USA Today last week reported “The Boy Scouts expect insurance will cover ‘a substantial portion’ of the money owed to victims, according to a court filing.)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/boy-scouts-bankruptcy-what-we-know-about-victims-assets-and-the-future-of-scouting/ar-BB1085YS?ocid=se2

–Every day, Scouting and church officials are still bringing in dollars (donations, bequeaths, rents, investments).

–There’s no solid way to predict whether that income will go up or down. (Many organizations end up stronger if they deal with abuse scandals well.)

–There’s no real way to predict how many victims will sue.

–And there’s no way to predict how those lawsuits will turn out.

–When some bishops have faced abuse litigation, they’ve boosted their income by selling property, getting loans or taking similar steps.

So one must ask: are these institutions seeking Chapter 11 status because they HAVE TO or because they WANT TO.

Again, we strongly suspect the latter.

Some find this notion hard to believe. “Bankruptcy is embarrassing and time-consuming,” they say.

It may be. But consider the alternative.

A bankruptcy filing stops litigation. No more documents turned over to victims’ or their attorneys. No more depositions. No testimony in open court that reveals how much officials knew about abuse and how little they did to stop abuse. No more tough questions under oath. No more having to face a deeply wounded victim or victims across a conference room table or in a courthouse.

That’s what is BEYOND embarrassing for those who suspected but hid or ignored heinous crimes against kids. THAT’S what they’re really afraid of and worried about.

Others claim “Bankruptcy means you have to turn over your files and finances for a judge to examine, and who’d want to do that?”

Again, that may be true. But bankruptcy judges look at files about assets, not abuse. Bankruptcy court shifts the focus entirely, away from “Who hid crimes?” and toward “Who gets money?”

So keep in mind that we all have choices, especially the CEOs and CFOs and bishops and other honchos who have big salaries and impressive titles AND who enabled predators to hurt kids.

They can choose to safeguard their careers and reputations, and hide behind the protections offered by Chapter 11.

Or they can choose to safeguard the innocent, help the wounded and let the truth come out in court.

Don’t believe them when they claim “We have no choice but to declare bankruptcy.. . .”