Was Your Child Sexually Abused at Boy Scouts?

The Boy Scouts of America is known for instilling values in young people and preparing them for the future. Since 1910, thousands of young men have been positively impacted by their troop leaders and other supervisors. Unfortunately, sexual abuse of children does occur in Boy Scouts. If your child was sexually abused at Boy Scouts, Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. can help protect his rights.

Call us to schedule a free consultation: 954-524-2820.

What constitutes sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse of a child is one of the most heinous crimes an adult can commit.

Sexual abuse can take many forms, including intercourse. However, any form of sexual touching between a child and an adult is sexual abuse. If both parties are minors, sexual touching can be sexual abuse depending on the ages of both parties. Child sexual abuse may also include exposing oneself to a child, forcing a child to pose for sexual photos, and other sexual behaviors. Sending inappropriate text messages and other forms of sexual messaging involving a child can also constitute sexual abuse.

How will I know if my child has been sexually abused at Boy Scouts?

Children may not be aware of what sexual abuse is and may have difficulty talking about things that happen to them. That is why parents should keep a look out for signs of sexual abuse.

Some signs include:

  • Refusal to eat
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mimicking sexual behaviors
  • Mood swings

While no one sign is an indicator of abuse, the presence of multiple signs may indicate a problem.

How does sexual abuse occur in the Boy Scouts?

Sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts may occur when a scout master or another adult uses his/her authority to force a child to engage in sexual activity.

The Boy Scouts of America organization has Youth Protection policies in place to protect children involved in Scouting. One major rule is that adult and youth members are not permitted to have one-on-one contact. Also, a minimum of two adult leaders must be present for all trips and outings. Unfortunately, these rules do not always help.

Children are more likely to be sexually abused by someone they know. The offender will often start by getting the child to trust him/her and think of him/her as a friend. The offender may then start seeking alone time with the child and will try to make him feel special by showering him with gifts and/or attention.

Sexual offenders may then try to convince the child that what they have is special and will manipulate the child into keeping quiet. In some cases, the offender will threaten to hurt the victim or his family if he tells anyone.

Adults are not the only ones who can commit sexual abuse. Other Scouts, particularly older children, may also sexually abuse their fellow troopers. This sexual abuse might stem from bullying, particularly if the abuser is larger and more intimidating than the victim.

What can I do if my child was sexually abused at Boy Scouts?

Parents who discover that their child was sexually abused may be overwhelmed with anger, sadness, and guilt. However, try to put your emotions aside for the moment and focus on getting your child the care he needs.

As soon as you find out about the abuse, your first priority will be taking your child to the doctor without bathing him or changing his clothes. The doctor’s evaluation may necessary in a future lawsuit to prove the physical state of the child after the abuse. A doctor can also help treat any injuries and work to prevent STDs.

Once a physician has treated your child, you will want to file a report with the Boy Scouts detailing the incident. You can use this report later as evidence of the abuse.

How can I seek justice for my child?

Parents of abused children may file a lawsuit in civil court against those responsible for their child’s physical and emotional injuries. Civil cases give victims and their families an opportunity to recover damages from those who hurt them. A case in civil court is unrelated to any criminal charges the abuser may be facing.

To file suit, you must determine who is at fault for your child’s pain and suffering. Some potential defendants include:

  • The Boy Scouts of America
  • Local Boy Scout troops
  • Officials in charge of conducting background checks on scout leaders
  • Scout leaders or others involved in the acts of abuse
  • Parents of abusive children

Once you have determined who to file suit against, you must determine what causes of action to base your suit on. Potential causes of action include:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
  • Negligence (e.g., negligent hiring)

Each of these causes of action requires you to prove a different set of elements. Generally, you will need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant(s) abused your child. We can present medical reports, witness testimony, abuse reports, and other evidence to show that the abuse occurred.

Where can I get help recovering damages if my child was sexually abused in the Boy Scouts?

Both the parents of the victim and the victim can recover damages for the physical injuries and emotional trauma that comes with being sexually abused at Boy Scouts. Sexual abuse can have a profound impact on young people for years after the abuse, so compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other non-economic damages are typically available.

The Boy Scouts of America focus on values such as trust, loyalty, and respect. If your child was abused at Boy Scouts, these values were ignored. Fight for the rights of your child with an attorney from Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos, & Lehrman, P.L. While nothing will erase what happened to your child, financial damages can make the recovery process slightly easier.

Do not handle this alone. Let us be your path to justice. Call us today: 954-524-2820.