Questions & Answers about the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Lawsuit
What are these cases about?
These cases involve past members of the Boy Scouts of America who were sexually abused/assaulted/molested as a boy scout by a scout master, troop leader, camp counselor, adult volunteer etc.
What did the Boy Scouts of America know about?
The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 and since the 1920’s there have been reports of sexual abuse occurring within the Scouts known to BSA. According to BSA’s own records, there are at least 12,000 known scouts who were abused by over 7,800 individuals associates with BSA since the 1940s. These are only the known (i.e. reported to BSA) assaults that have taken place.
What did the Boy Scouts of America do about the sexual abuse problem?
BSA decided to handle the reports of sexual abuse by leaders internally. Often BSA failed to report instances of sexual assault to the authorities. In many instances, the perpetrator was allowed to continue as leaders in various positions within BSA.
Why do I need a Boy Scout lawsuit lawyer?
The civil justice system is not a simple system. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can ensure that your rights are protected, especially against a large institution with deep pockets like the Boy Scouts of America. An attorney can assist in investigating the assault you experienced and help you in gathering important documentation necessary to pursue a claim against BSA. An experienced sexual assault attorney will be able to advocate on your behalf.
What makes our law firm different from others?
Countless legal firms are readily available to take your case, but how much does the firm you are considering know about representing sexual assault survivors? Estey & Bomberger not only specializes in sexual abuse cases, but we are advocates for survivors of these traumatic experiences. We are a trauma-informed firm, and we know the effects of sexual abuse can last a lifetime. To say the rights of sexual assault survivors are important to our firm is an understatement. Steve Estey is on the statewide committee to expand the rights of sexual abuse survivors. Mike Bomberger has co-counseled with Steve Estey on sexual assault cases resulting in jury verdicts of $30 million and $23 million. Mary Bajo is driven by the impact her advocacy has on behalf of her clients. Her jury verdict for sexual abuse survivors totals over $35 million. Estey & Bomberger support through charitable giving to nonprofit organizations such as The Chadwick Center, the East Los Angeles Women’s Center, Peace Over Violence, and many others.
We represent sexual assault victims nationwide. Although our main office is located in California, we can help you no matter what state you live in. Thanks to modern technology, you can hire us without ever having to leave the comfort or safety of your own home.
What is a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate?
A Sexual Assault Victim Advocate is trained to support and provide personalized care to victims/survivors of sexual assault. Advocates work as a team to offer emotional support, connect you with resources, and provide you with regular updates about your case.
Can my Boy Scout lawsuit be confidential?
Yes. As a survivor of sexual abuse, you have the right to keep your identity private. When you initially report the crime to the police or sheriff’s department, be sure to request that they maintain your confidentiality.
We understand what you are going through. We understand your concern to remain anonymous. In a difficult time like this, you don’t want your name disclosed in public records. These records are regularly monitored by news agencies. That’s how people end up in the paper or on the evening news. This is the last thing anyone going through a life shattering event wants to happen.
Additionally, claims submitted under the bankruptcy proceeding will not be made available to the general public. Additionally, there are further protocols in place to ensure confidentiality in submitting claims and proof of claims. An attorney can assist in this matter.
Estey & Bomberger recognizes and respects the importance of anonymity for sexual assault survivors. If you are worried about maintaining your confidentiality, we are here to help ease your fears.
How does the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy affect my case?
In February 2020 BSA filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy after approximately 2,000 lawsuits were filed against them for sexual abuse. BSA claims this was done in an effort to reorganize their debts in order to properly compensate the sexual abuse lawsuits. What the bankruptcy does do, however, is eliminate the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Those cases that were filed previously have been stayed pending a resolution of the bankruptcy. Additionally, the bankruptcy court, as is typical procedure, created a window within which sexual abuse claims must be filed in order to be considered for compensation. Currently, in order for a claim of boy scout sexual abuse to be considered for compensation, it must be submitted through the bankruptcy proceeding before November 16, 2020
What is the status of the filed BSA cases?
Before BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020, there had been over 2,000 cases filed against them alleging sexual abuse. Once BSA filed for bankruptcy, those cases were stayed. This means the civil lawsuits against BSA are halted and will be handled as claims in the bankruptcy rather than as civil lawsuits.
How long will a Boy Scout sexual abuse case take?
The length of time for a given claim will take is dependent on a number of factors. Firstly, claims of sexual abuse must be submitted to the bankruptcy proceeding before November 16, 2010. After this important date, the claims will be reviewed only be specific committees within the bankruptcy. It is possible that the bankruptcy claims process will take several months and up to a few years to fully resolve.
What can I expect from Estey & Bomberger?
You can expect an experienced team of sexual assault lawyers, victim advocates, and staff who are trauma informed, and dedicated to pursuing justice and advocating on behalf of individuals who have been sexually assaulted and/or abused.
- You can expect to be updated on the status of your claim as the bankruptcy and claims process is underway.
- You can expect a trained victim advocate who will be there to assist you through the legal process. Your victim advocate can help you to find resources for sexual assault survivors and help you throughout your healing process.
- Our goal, both in how we handle your legal claim, and how we treat you as a client, is to help you go from a sexual assault victim, to a survivor, to someone who once again can thrive.
How much will an attorney cost to handle a Boy Scout lawsuit?
Estey & Bomberger works on a contingency basis. This means we do not charge you anything up front. We only recover if you do.
It happened so long ago, what if I do not remember all of the details regarding my assault and information about my troop?
It is understandable that memories would not store all of this information following a traumatic event. With your help, we will do our best to gather as much information as possible before filing your claim.
To help jog your memory, try to write down some facts you remember or seek help from a therapist. Therapy and journaling are not only beneficial for your well-being, but also for your civil case. Documenting the event and how it has affected you can later provide your attorneys with the narrative needed to support your claim if and when your case is brought forward to BSA.
You can help us by finding any old pictures that you have from your time as a Boy Scout, documents or items from those years (i.e. uniform, etc.)
If you do not remember your Troop Number or specific details about what Charter or Organization your troop fell under, there should be records that will help us identify some of these things.
What if I never told anyone when the abuse happened? Can I still proceed with contacting your office and getting assistance?
It is very common for child survivors of sexual assault/abuse to not tell anyone what happened to them. Not only were you a child, but there was no guidance or protocol that was ever given to Boy Scouts to alert them of how to seek help should something like this ever happened to them.
Often times, survivors feel embarrassed, shame, guilt and do not know what to do with those feelings. As a young child, you just want to try and be a kid and it is typical to push those traumatic memories to the side. Many worry that if they do say anything they will not be believed, chastised, or even kicked out of the organization that you may have enjoyed being a part of.
Because child abuse and trauma is often left untreated, it is normal for these survivors to reach adulthood and still not confide in anyone about what happened to them long ago. We are here to listen and appreciate you coming forward. It takes lots of courage to speak up and even if you are just at the beginning of your healing journey, we would like to do everything we can to assist.
Is what happened to me actually sexual assault? I was just a kid.
- Minors cannot consent to sex
- Sexual assault can take many forms, but one thing always remains the same: it is never the victim’s fault. “Sexual Assault” is a term used to describe a class of involuntary sexual acts in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against their will. This includes any sexual touching to which a person has not consented. Some examples include attempted rape, fondling or unwanted touching on the sexual body parts, forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or touching/penetrating the perpetrator’s body, and penetration, no matter how slight by a body part of another person (often referred to as “rape”).
Power and control is at the root of sexual assault- this is not a crime typically about sexual gratification. The perpetrators who committed these acts are more often not in a position of power or authority. You are told to listen to them and follow their guidance. Trust is often one of the most common weapons used when perpetrating sexual assault, specifically against children.