The Boys Scouts of America (BSA) faces more than 88,000 allegations of sexual abuse against leaders of the organization, according to reports in several U.S. media outlets.
The shocking figure comes after the deadline, Monday, Nov. 16, had been set by the justice system for victims to file their complaints.
The justice system now will investigate the cases, as ordered earlier this year by a court in the state of Delaware, when BSA declared bankruptcy in an attempt to survive the wave of complaints.
Christopher Hurley is the managing partner of a law firm that represents 4,000 survivors of child sexual abuse. The victims all say they were victimized while participating in the Boy Scouts. Hurley told The Christian Post that more than 88,500 victims had made court appearances.
“We knew the problem was severe, and we knew the Boy Scout organization had neglected it for too long. But with 88,500 victims, the breadth and depth of the problem now feels overwhelming,” Hurley said in a statement.
“I have represented tragically injured people for 36 years, but the number of broken, lonely men I have come to know over the last six months has had a profound impact on me personally,” he said.
The attorney, a native of the city of Chicago, added, “I admire their courage for coming forward and their willingness to share their pain so that what happened to them may never happen to another child.”
In a statement, BSA said it is “devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in Scouting” and said that’s why they have initiated an accessible process for survivors to claim compensation.
The Boy Scouts were founded in 1910 and expanded following the spread of the organization’s values: “Patriotism, courage, and independence.” According to the organization, more than 130 million young people have gone through its programs over these more than 100 years.
According to Daily Caller, BSA has about 2.2 million members. However, in recent years, membership has been declining to the point that, according to journalist Elizabeth Louise, the organization had to allow girls to join, possibly to increase membership.
The flood of lawsuits is a monumental task for the bankruptcy case. The Boy Scouts intend to reorganize and structure a compensation fund for their victims.
According to the organization’s bankruptcy filing, the BSA has $1 billion in assets. Still, it also has a network of local councils that own hundreds of camps and other properties throughout the United States. These facilities are generally located on lakeshores or in valleys, where young people are trained in exploration skills.