Lawyers Say More Scouting Abuse Survivors are Coming Forward
Hundreds of lawsuits from former Boy Scouts claim they were sexually abused while in Boy Scouts of America (BSA) programs. Two men from the Los Angeles area join their voices, saying they were abused by Boy Scout leaders in their youth, as well.
"He said he was checking for a hernia; he fondled me," former scout Robbie Pierce told NBC Los Angeles.
Pierce recounted the Boy Scout camping trip from 1994, where he says a scouting camp volunteer molested him. The volunteer was examining several boys who became sick during the trip.
"I remember him saying, 'Are you shaking because my hands are cold, or because I'm not a real doctor?' I'll never forget that," Pierce said.
Pierce did not tell anyone for years, embarrassed and confused by what had happened to him. Sexual abuse is one of the most underreported crimes in the US due to the extremely traumatic and violating nature of the crime. Thousands of sexual predators could be unaccounted.
Los Angeles area resident Mark Olmsted told NBC4 that he spoke out about his scouting abuse. His alleged abuser, a scout leader, slept in a tent with him and other boys.
"He masturbated me right there," Olmsted recounted.
Olmsted reported the abuse to his parents and Boy Scouts of America administrators in 1970. However, Olmsted reports the scout leader came back to the scouting camp after he was reported to the BSA.
The Boy Scouts of America now face hundreds of lawsuits from across the country for negligence in protecting children from sexual predators.
To seek justice for their abuse, Olmstead and Pierce contacted the group Abused in Scouting (AIS), a movement to pursue justice against the BSA for sexual abuse. Led by a group of attorneys, Abused in Scouting filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts earlier this summer on behalf of a man who said he too was abused by a scout leader as a child.
Hundreds of sexual abuse survivors have joined the Abused in Scouting movement to seek justice for their abuse. Abused in Scouting's lawyers claim they have identified hundreds of potential sexual predators not included in the Boy Scout's "Perversion Files."
"The Boy Scouts have kept this secret," AIS attorney Tim Kosnoff said.
California Statute of Limitations
California Governor Gavin Newsom is scheduled to sign AB 218, a bill that extends the California statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases. The signing of this bill will allow childhood sexual abuse victims a second chance to pursue justice against their abusers.
"It opens a window starting Jan 1, 2020 for three years for individuals that were abused and are now over the age of 26 to come forward and hold these institutions who knew or should have known accountable for that," AIS attorney Andrew Van Arsdale said.
Once this bill is signed, AIS's legal team will have the opportunity to seek compensation for Scouting abuse survivors.
The BSA has not confirmed or denied their support of AB 218. Responding to NBC Los Angeles, the said the BSA supports "some legislation."