In emotional interviews, ex-Scouts open up about abuse

Associated Press

Sharing their stories doesn’t come easily for these middle-aged men. At times, their eyes well up or their voices crack as they describe being sexually abused in the Boy Scouts and suffering from emotional damage long afterward.

Looking back, they all remember vividly how excited they were to become Scouts.

“I was real gung-ho about getting my badges — fishing and campfires and all of that,” said Darrell Jackson, now a 57-year-old New Yorker. “It was good at the beginning.”

Jackson, whose unit leader was convicted of sodomy and imprisoned for about 18 months, is among hundreds of men across the U.S. who have recently contacted lawyers for help suing the Boy Scouts of America for sex abuse they say they suffered at the hands of scout leaders.

Many of the men are from New York, which this year adjusted its restrictive statute-of-limitations law. The changes allow victims of long-ago abuse to sue for damages during a one-year window starting in August. New Jersey enacted a similar law this month. California is on track to follow suit.

Jason Amala, one of Jackson’s and Luna’s lawyers, said scout officials failed to take reasonable steps to protect the boys from the foreseeable harm of being sexually abused by scout leaders. The claims will seek unspecified compensatory damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages based on an allegation that the BSA intentionally concealed their knowledge of the danger.

“We get people who call us virtually every day who still think it’s their fault. And until the Scouts are fully transparent and accountable, you’re going to have that problem,” Amala said. “It wasn’t their fault — not their parents’ fault, not their moms’ fault. It was the Boy Scouts’ fault.”

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Filed Under  Child Victims Act (CVA)  Childhood Sexual Abuse  News  Scouting 

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