A new lawsuit filed on Monday in Philadelphia by a group of lawyers against the Boy Scouts of America claims the organization continues to hide a "pedophilia epidemic," NBC News reported.
The suit filed on behalf of a Pennsylvania man identified as "S.D." alleges he was assaulted hundreds of times over a period of four or five year starting when S.D. was only 13-years-old by a scoutmaster at his troop in Pennsylvania in the 1970s. The teen alleges he had to endure "fondling, hundreds of incidents of oral sexual assault, and repeated attempts of anal penetration" at Camp Acahela, a Boy Scout retreat and at his abuser's home, the lawsuit states.
The abuse would not have been possible had it not been for the negligence of the BSA, the lawsuit alleges. The suit goes on to say the organization and other defendants engaged in "reckless conduct" by failing to protect the young men being preyed upon within the organization's ranks.
The litigation is part of a larger attempt to unearth previously unreported cases of child abuse in the Boy Scouts. Abused in Scouting is a group of law firms who have come together to try and expose the BSA's internal database of scout-leaders who had been previously unmasked as predators.
The group says they've collected hundreds of stories from around the country from former Boy Scouts who say they were assaulted or harassed in some way. Abused in Scouting has identified 350 scoutmasters and volunteers with the organization who have allegedly preyed on young men within the organization's ranks.
"You can’t look at these files and not come to the conclusion that this was a massive problem that was hidden," attorney Tim Kosnoff said at a press conference.
Around another 800 other clients are ready to sue the organization, the group said at a press conference in Washington D.C.
The lawsuit comes as the BSA has been hit with a series of lawsuits by former scouts who say they were assaulted in their time, prompting rumors the nonprofit organization was considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections.
The Boy Scouts of America has long been considered a place where young men could learn traditional values and survival skills while going on educational and fun trips around the area. The organization, founded by Robert Baden Powell in 1910, has more than 1.26 million Cub scouts, around 830,000 Boy Scouts and 960,000 adult volunteers.
“We care deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement to the Washington Post. “We believe victims, we support them, we pay for counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward.”
“The BSA has taken significant steps over many years to ensure that we respond aggressively and effectively to reports of sexual abuse,” the statement continued. “We recognize, however, that there were instances in our organization’s history when cases were not addressed or handled in a manner consistent with our commitment to protect Scouts, the values of our organization, and the procedures we have in place today.”
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