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Boy Scout Sexual Abuse

Many grown men have fond memories of participation in the Boy Scouts in chapters including Seattle, Olympia, Bellingham, and Kirkland, as it provides an opportunity for boys to learn new skills and engage in creative interactions with other kids and older male role models. However, sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts is a reality that has come to light in recent years. Sexual abuse by leaders upon minor victims, and by older scouts upon younger scouts, is possible due to the long-term relationships that are nurtured during weekly club meetings and weekend camping events. Unfortunately, there have been too many instances when boy scouts have been sexually abused in Seattle, Kirkland, Bellingham, and Olympia.

While you shouldn’t veer away from providing your child with opportunities for adventure and learning, it is important to monitor their time away from home. Many cases of child sexual abuse have occurred in The Boy Scouts, so it’s important to talk to your child and be aware of any warning signs that he may be experiencing abuse. If he has been abused, you have every right to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a criminal case in a court of law.

The Boy Scouts of America has approximately 2.7 million members and another million adult volunteers. Before 1994, there were around 2,000 instances of abuse. In 2010, a jury awarded the Boy Scouts of America to pay over eighteen million dollars to a boy scout who was abused. Since then, the Boy Scouts of America has created a sex abuse education and prevention program to help combat this problem.

Washington State Boy Scout Laws

Since this program was implemented, there have been a number of changes the Boy Scouts of America has created to make the Scouts a safer space. Every time there is an outing of any sort, two adults over the age of 21 must be present. One-on-one contact between adults and boys is not allowed.

There is a heightened respect of privacy now, along with separate living spaces, so young boys cannot sleep in the same tent as adults. If there are activities planned, all activities must be planned with proper preparation and safety. There can now be no secret organizations within the Boy Scouts. In addition, there is no hazing allowed. There is now also a much greater degree of training and supervision by leaders so they are better equipped to be around young boys.

Despite these precautions, we all know Boy Scouts still have incidents where their scout leaders have abused children under their care. When this happens, there are a couple of legal theories available to hold the Boy Scouts available.

As you might imagine, suing the Boy Scout himself without naming the Boy Scouts of America as well makes little sense since the individual scout leader may not have the money to make you whole.

While the individual might face criminal charges for what he has done, it is unlikely he has the financial resources to compensate you, which is why the Boy Scouts of America must be sued. When suing them, here are the most likely theories to use. The theory behind this is called “respondent superior,” which just means that the Boy Scouts are vicariously liable for the acts of their employees, including Scouts. It’s no different than if an Uber driver, while driving for Uber, gets in an accident with you, the driver. Uber, in this instance, could be legally liable for the accident.

Negligent hiring. This means just what it sounds like: the Boy Scouts had a duty to hire someone who did not have a past that would suggest they would be harm a child. If it can be shown the Boy Scouts either knew or should have known that the man they were hiring had a propensity or a past suggestive of molesting or sexually abusing children, then they could be responsible under this theory.

Negligent supervision. Negligent supervision simply means, in non-legal terms, that the Boy Scouts have a duty to supervise their scout leaders. The Boy Scouts simply cannot turn a blind eye to their leaders and let them commit terrible acts of sexual abuse towards children. So often in these instances the upper management and leadership is aware of the acts being committed by their scouts and they have turned a blind eye to it. A lawsuit, brought by a victim, can go a long in changing the culture and environment of the Boy Scouts.

Common Injuries by Boy Scout Sexual Abuse

While there may be physical injuries associated with abuse by the Boy Scouts, the majority of them are emotional and psychological in nature. Children who have been sexually abused by an adult in the Boy Scouts may have tremendous emotional and psychological damage. And while these injuries are not as visible to the eye as a physical wound, they are every bit as real and impactful as a physical wound.

They also need to be addressed by the appropriate professional, such as a counselor, therapist, or psychologist. After suffering abuse by a Boy Scout, the best course of action is to notify the proper law enforcement authorities, report it to the national Boy Scout office, and contact a mental health therapist. Left alone, these emotional and psychological injuries will not heal on their own, at least not in most cases. They need to be treated by the proper professional.

How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help

After suffering sexual abuse by a Boy Scout leader, the emotional and psychological trauma resulting from this can be substantial and life-altering. Either your child or you, if you are confronting memories as an adult, are likely scared, angry, and confused about where to turn. Why go through this trauma alone? The Jackman Law Firm can help you through this troubling time. We can help you recover the following:

  • Money for your emotional distress
  • Money for ongoing counseling or therapy bills
  • Money for out of pocket expenses

Most importantly, we can help you hold the appropriate parties responsible and hopefully put closure to your pain or your child’s pain, or both. The Jackman Law Firm has the know-how and resources to hold the proper parties accountable. We can work with the proper parties and insurance carrier to make sure you get the most amount of money possible for your injuries and what you’ve gone through.

Feel free to call us for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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