Internal records from The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) show that over 12,000 children were sexually abused while participating in its programs. Advocacy groups believe this figure may be substantially higher given the wave of lawsuits filed against the BSA– which recently filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
According to allegations raised in the complaints, incidents of abuse perpetrated by both Scout leaders and volunteers spanned several decades– yet the assault of these young victims was rarely reported to law enforcement. Instead, the Boy Scouts of America chose to turn a blind eye to the systemic problem, ultimately failing to protect the safety of those in their care.
Data gathered by CHILD USA, a non-profit dedicated to preventing child abuse and protecting kids, demonstrates the frequency, location, and type of abuse committed against Boy Scout participants.
Statistics on Boy Scout Abuse
The following data reveals the prevalence of sexual abuse and harassment in the BSA.
- Boy Scouts were, on average, 12 years old when the abuse began, though some were as young as 5
- Close to 80 percent of victims say the sexual molestation lasted two years or more
- The majority of victims claim their attackers groomed them with alcohol, gifts, and special attention before the abuse
- Boy Scout leaders, or scoutmasters, were responsible for more than 95 percent of alleged abuse incidents
- The majority of abuse occurred at the Boy Scout campsite, followed by the abuser’s house, vehicle, and other outdoor areas
- Nearly 2.5 percent of Scout leaders who abused boys were also teachers or clergy members
Types of abuse suffered by victims
- 6 percent of victims were inappropriately touched
- 6 percent of victims were orally assaulted or penetrated by hand
- 3 percent of victims had their private parts fondled by adult abusers
- 8 percent of victims were genitally penetrated/raped
- 6 percent of victims reported general molestation
And a further 28.6 percent reported “other” acts of sexual assault and harassment.
Types of grooming methods used by Boy Scout leaders
“Grooming” involves the techniques used by sexual predators in preparation for their eventual assault on the child. Grooming is designed to build a level of intimacy and trust between the offender and their victim. With time, the child begins to see the offender as a close friend or, sometimes, an authority figure who is to be respected and feared.
Some of the more common grooming techniques employed by abusers include:
- Pornography conditioning
- Special privileges and incentives
- Father figure grooming
- Religious relationship building
- Sedation with drugs or alcohol
- Physical contact desensitization
- Touch manipulation
Legal help for Boy Scout abuse victims
Showard Law Firm is available to discuss your options for legal action. If you were abused while in the Boy Scouts, reach out for a free consultation to see if you qualify for compensation. We provide powerful representation on a contingency-fee-basis to residents throughout Tucson, Sierra Vista, and communities in Southern Arizona. There are strict time limits for filing a claim, so do not delay—contact us to arrange your confidential case review.