Experienced Salt Lake City abuse attorney explains how the system works
In recent years, numerous individuals and adults have filed sexual abuse lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in response to claims of sexual abuse and assault committed by scoutmasters and other adults who work for the BSA.
Taking legal action against large organizations like the Boy Scouts of America can be an intimidating and challenging task. This is especially true since there has been some confusion about who can take legal action against the BSA for sexual abuse and if there’s a deadline for filing a lawsuit.
Salt Lake City abuse attorney Randy M. Andrus thoroughly understands the state and federal laws governing these cases. That’s because he has decades of experience dealing with complex cases involving sexual abuse. Below, you can learn more about the process and important deadlines. You can also contact our law firm to discuss your potential legal case.
Is there a deadline to take legal action against the Boy Scouts for sexual abuse?
In February 2020, the Boy Scouts of American (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. During bankruptcy proceedings, attorneys representing the BSA and victims of sexual abuse committed by BSA leaders agreed to set a deadline for victims of sexual abuse to file claims against the BSA national organization, according to Insurance Journal.
Lawyers representing victims of abuse wanted a December 2020 deadline. The BSA wanted an October 2020 deadline. Instead, both sides agreed that Nov. 16, 2020 would be the deadline to file new abuse claims against the BSA national organization. As a result, if someone doesn’t file a Boy Scout sexual abuse lawsuit after Nov. 16, they may be prohibited from taking any legal action against the BSA national organization.
After Nov. 16, victims of abuse committed by Boy Scout leaders may still be able to pursue legal action against the local council the scout belonged to at the time of the abuse. However, local councils may blame the BSA national organization, which cannot be included in these lawsuits after Nov. 16. In addition, the rules vary from one state to another in certain circumstances.
Is there a statute of limitations for filing a Boy Scout abuse claim?
In the past, many abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America were dismissed because the abuse happened decades ago. That’s because many states have statute of limitations laws when it comes to abuse. A statute of limitations is a deadline for taking legal action.
In recent years, many states have amended their statute of limitation laws in order to allow individuals more time to take legal action for abuse. As a result, victims of Boy Scout abuse in certain states have more time beyond the Nov. 16, 2020 deadline to take legal action.
Victims of Boy Scout abuse in New Jersey have until December 2021 to take legal action against the national organization, according to Insurance Journal. In New York State, that deadline is Aug. 2021. Arizona, North Carolina and Vermont also have later deadlines.
Can Boy Scout abuse victims in Utah file a lawsuit against the BSA?
The Boy Scouts of America has a long history of providing programming and guidance to youth in Utah. Up until 2018, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints required most young men to participate in the BSA, according to the Associated Press. As a result, many people in Utah have participated or belonged to a local BSA council or troop.
Up until 2013, Utah had a statute of limitations for victims of abuse to take legal action against their abusers, ABC 4 News reported. That deadline was often only up until the victim’s 22nd birthday or four years after they turned 18 years old, according to Deseret News.
In 2013, Utah’s state legislature removed the statute of limitations for most serious sex crimes, ABC 4 News reported. Then in 2016, Utah extended the statute of limitations for filing civil cases involving abuse to 35 years after an adult turns 18 years old, Deseret News reported.
These legal changes are important, since many instances of abuse committed by BSA scoutmasters, assistant scoutmasters or committee members occurred decades ago. Even so, some victims of Boy Scout abuse in Utah have faced obstacles when trying to take legal action against the national BSA organization.
One victim of BSA abuse in Utah was told they could not file a lawsuit against the national organization due to Utah’s statute of limitations laws. That’s why that individual joined a national lawsuit filed against the BSA in federal court in Washington, D.C. this past January, the Associated Press reported. By doing so, Washington, D.C.’s statute of limitations laws applied, allowing the victim of abuse in Utah to take legal action.
Boy Scout abuse claims in Utah can be extremely complicated legal cases. That’s why it’s critical that you have an experienced abuse attorney on your side who can skillfully handle your legal case every step of the way. To learn more about your options and how we can help you, contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation with Salt Lake City abuse attorney Randy M. Andrus.