More than 200 individuals have come forward with new allegations of sexual abuse by members of the Boy Scouts of America in recent weeks as a trio of law firms seek to uncover unidentified child abusers.
A few of the victims are young, still underage or in their 20s, but many have held their secrets close for decades.
“Nobody would have listened to me,” said James Kretschmer, 56, who says a leader groped him at a Boy Scouts camp when he was in middle school. “The problem is, then you think, ‘Is it something I did? What was I doing, was it my fault? If I hadn’t done whatever, he wouldn’t have done that.’ It took me years and years to realize it wasn’t that little child’s fault. It was the adult who had control.”
Samuel, 17, said he was fondled by a leader a decade ago, who told him, “Don’t say anything.
“For awhile, I lived with those three words,” Samuel said. “That’s why I didn’t say anything.”
Advised by Tim Kosnoff, an attorney who has litigated more than a thousand cases of sexual misconduct against organizations such as the Scouts and the Mormon church, the group of attorneys said it has identified 150 alleged pedophiles never before publicly accused.
The law firms began running TV and Google ads encouraging victims to sign on as clients for a potential lawsuit after a report in December that Boy Scouts of America prepared for a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The volume already gathered could double the number of legal cases the organization already is facing, although a bankruptcy would halt existing and future litigation, the attorneys told USA TODAY. MORE