Abuse in the Scouts caused endless emotional trauma

Posted on August 17, 2012 by

On behalf of The Law Office of Marvin S. Lanter posted in Sexual Abuse on Friday, August 17, 2012.

In Southern California, as in the rest of the country, victims of sexual abuse who seek justice often find that those who should have protected them failed to do so. Because of the devastating emotional trauma associated with this type of abuse, a sexual abuse victim may be hesitant to take action against his or her abuser. A recent “Los Angeles Times” exposé on abuse within the Boy Scouts of America organization illustrates these points.

Despite the Boy Scouts’ use of what they referred to as “perversion files” to attempt to track sexual predators and keep them from infiltrating the Scout program, these predators repeatedly skirted the system. The Times report found at least 125 cases where the Scouts failed to take action after receiving notice that abuse was taking place, allowing an adult predator to continue to prey on young boys in the program.

Whether due to clerical errors, name changes or a failure to utilize the system, the Scouts organization did not protect those it was supposed to protect, namely, the boys involved. After his arrest, one former Scoutmaster admitted to having molested more than 100 boys in multiple troops during his time with the Scouts. It is hard to imagine the emotional trauma left in the wake of such widespread abuse.

The victims of sexual abuse can never be fully compensated for their suffering; however, they may be entitled to civil remedies through the California court system. When more than two parties are involved in a sexual abuse case, it may not only be the abuser who is found liable to be a victim. Negligent harm of a third party is a related cause of action that can lead to compensation for a victim in a multi-party case. If an abuser has few assets to pursue as compensation in a civil lawsuit, a claim for negligent harm of a third party may be a way for a victim to recover additional damages.

Although victims of abuse, like those in the Scout scandal, must deal with emotional trauma for years to come, it is somewhat heartening to know they may receive some compensation for their suffering. Perhaps lawsuits against third parties, like in the Boy Scouts case, might prompt third parties to be more vigilant in protecting potential sexual abuse victims.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Boy Scout files reveal repeat child abuse by sexual predators,” Jason Felch and Kim Christensen, August 5, 2012

© 2017 The Law Office of Marvin S. Lanter, Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer. All Rights Reserved.
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