Lawyers for eight men who say they were sexually abused by Boy Scout leaders and volunteers have filed a lawsuit in Washington D.C.
In May 2019, a new law in Washington D.C. extends the statute of limitations on sexual abuse lawsuits.
The law allows victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits if the abuse happened before they turned 35 years old, so long as they are still younger than 40 years old.
Lawyers are arguing that D.C. courts have jurisdiction over lawsuits from men in other states because the Texas-based Boy Scouts’ legal residence is in D.C.
If the lawsuit is successful, sexual abuse survivors from other states would be able to file a lawsuit in D.C., even if they were too late to file a lawsuit in their home state.
The most recent lawsuit was filed on January 6 by a group of attorneys known as “Abused in Scouting” who collectively represent more than 1,500 men who claim they were abused in the Boy Scouts.
Eight men were chosen to file the lawsuit in D.C. because they were unable to file a lawsuit in their home state. All of the men were sexually abused as minors, with the youngest being just 8 years old.
Twenty-nine states have recently passed laws to extend the statute of limitations on sex abuse lawsuits, or provide a temporary “look-back window” for survivors to file lawsuits that would have been too late.
The lawsuit claims that the Boy Scouts has been aware of a widespread problem with sexual abusers for decades, but downplayed the issue to protect its image.
In many cases, survivors say the organization failed to report known abusers, allowed them to continue working with boys, and thereby facilitated the abuse of more children.