Suit: Boy Scouts Hiding 'Pedophilia Epidemic'

Lawyer group says it has 800 clients in the wings and has identified 350 new alleged abusers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2019 7:46 AM CDT
Suit: Boy Scouts Hiding 'Pedophilia Epidemic'
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/searagen)

A lawsuit was filed Monday in Philly against the Boy Scouts of America on behalf of a man who says a Scout leader sexually abused him for years in the '70s, and the lawyer group that filed the complaint says there's new proof that the BSA tried to hide a "pedophilia epidemic" in its midst. NBC Philadelphia reports the suit by Abused in Scouting on behalf of a Pennsylvania man known as "SD" alleges that Paul Antosh assaulted SD "hundreds" of times over a span of four or five years, starting when SD was around 13, per court records. The teen was said to have endured "fondling, hundreds of incidents of oral sexual assault, and repeated attempts of anal penetration," per the suit. But the complaint also makes another revelation: The lawyers say they've identified 350 scoutmasters and volunteers who sexually abused Scouts, and that they have 800 or so other clients ready to sue.

Abused in Scouting says these new names weren't known to police and aren't part of the BSA's "perversion files," internal records documenting the cases of nearly 8,000 alleged sexual predators within the ranks of scoutmasters and other volunteers. NBC News reviewed the names and did find at least six that were in the BSA database. "You can't look at these files and not come to the conclusion that this was a massive problem that was hidden," one of the lawyers said Tuesday. What spurred Abused in Scouting to jump on these cases: the fact that new windows on statutes of limitations in such cases have opened (or are set to) in multiple states, and amid rumors that the BSA may soon declare bankruptcy. "We care deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting," the BSA says in a statement, per the Washington Post. "We believe victims ... and we encourage them to come forward." (More Boy Scouts of America stories.)

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