More than a dozen Massachusetts Boy Scouts troops have been implicated among a flood of tens of thousands sexual abuse lawsuits filed nationwide against the Boy Scouts of America, according to a lawyer representing some of the alleged victims.
Boston Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who prominently represented victims of abuse by Catholic clergy, tells GBH News that he is currently representing about 100 clients accusing the Boy Scouts of sexual abuse. Most of those clients, he says, are from Massachusetts; their allegations implicate an estimated dozen or more Boy Scouts troops from around the state.
“From Boston, to Springfield, to western Massachusetts … it’s spread out almost everywhere,” Garabedian said. “It was the culture, of abuse.”
Nationwide, upwards of 82,000 such suits have been filed, according to various news reports, many in recent days, ahead of a legal deadline related to the Boy Scouts bankruptcy filings.
Speaking of those suits generally, Garabedian said the accusations “come from across the United States and the period of abuse spans at least four decades.”
And, Garabedian said, the accusations implicate the Boy Scouts’ national leadership, its regional “local councils” — which help coordinate BSA groups across larger geographic areas — and individual BSA troops.
“The Boy Scouts of America did not properly supervise these Boy Scout leaders who sexually abused innocent children,” Garabedian said. “And neither did the local councils, who allowed assistant scoutmasters, for instance, to sexually abuse innocent children as scoutmasters."
In an emailed statement, BSA said the organization is “devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in Scouting and moved by the bravery of those who came forward. We are heartbroken that we cannot undo their pain."
The BSA said it has developed a process to reach survivors of abuse and “help them take an essential step toward receiving compensation.”
"Now that all claims have been filed, the next step will be for third-party advisors to review the claims in order to uphold the integrity of the process," the statement continued, adding the organization is "committed to working as expeditiously as possible to provide survivors of abuse with equitable compensation."
The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in February, amid a rising number of lawsuits claiming sexual abuse.
Garabedian said the bankruptcy process will not necessarily protect the national organization, its regional local councils or its individual troops from financial liability for legal claims.