Law firms sue Catholic church and Boy Scouts for “secret files” on alleged sex abusers
Two law firms say they are suing the Boy Scouts of America, the New York Archdiocese and the Diocese of Brooklyn over “secret files” that they claim would reveal “decades worth of evidence” about alleged child sex abusers.
Marsh Law Firm PLLC and Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC say they will represent 550 people who claim they were abused by Catholic Church and Boy Scout leaders.
The attorneys say the lawsuits and formal discovery requests will uncover what they call the Catholic Church’s “secret files” and the Boy Scouts’ “ineligible volunteer files,” including information on each of the alleged perpetrators and on each allegation of sexual abuse.
The lawsuits are made possible by the one-year “lookback” window opened by the Child Victims Act. The landmark law’s lookback period enables survivors of child sexual abuse to sue their abusers or the institutions that enabled them, regardless of when the crime was committed.
“For decades, institutions like the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts have refused to acknowledge the abuse they allowed to occur under their watch, while hiding their ‘secret files’ behind lock and key,” said Marsh Law Firm’s Jennifer Freeman in a statement. Freeman represents hundreds of people filing lawsuits under the new law.
“But thanks to the CVA, survivors finally have the right and the power to get at the truth. Starting today, these institutions are on notice – they can try to deny their complicity, but the real and unvarnished story will come out in court,” she continued.
“Institutions that harbored child sex abusers have had countless opportunities to come clean and release their ‘secret files’ on abusers within their ranks,” added Michael Pfau of Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala in a statement. “By serving these lawsuits and beginning the discovery process, we’ll finally be able to access the files that hold the key to holding these institutions accountable.”