Gill Gayle, 58, a former boy scout, thought his story of being sexually assaulted and abused in the organization was unique — until years later.
On Monday, Gayle’s claims against the Boy Scouts were among the nearly 90,000 filed by the deadline in the Boy Scouts’ federal bankruptcy case — the largest-ever child sex abuse case involving a single national organization,USA TODAY said.
Those who missed the Nov. 16 deadline are barred from filing suit against the national organization in the future.
As a result, filing of proof of claim forms accelerated in recent weeks. Lawyers for abuse survivors said about 63,000 had been filed, and they expect the total to exceed 70,000 by the deadline.
The total claims far exceed the number expected when Boy Scouts of America first filed for bankruptcy in February.
However, lawyers representing the potential victims say the total is likely an undercount of boys abused over the organization’s 100-year history.
The Boy Scouts organization has faced civil litigation since a 2010 case cost them over $19.9 million in damages. As a result of that case, the Scouts were forced to publicize over 20,000 confidential documents.
Those records, named the “perversion files,” revealed that the youth organization tracked suspected and known abusers but didn’t consistently report them to authorities or notify the public.
Generally, sexual abuse is often not reported, and clients have told the lawyers that they know others who were also abused but refused to come forward.
Paul Mones, a lawyer representing over 400 abused people, said his clients range from teenagers to men older than 80. Most of their allegations were never before reported, he said, and only about a quarter of them were abused by people in the “perversion files.”
For now, all claims will be reviewed by third-party advisers and will work toward a settlement, the Boy Scouts said, “in order to uphold the integrity of the process.”