Tents at boy scout campFour out-of-state former Boy Scouts have filed a childhood sexual abuse lawsuit in New Jersey, saying that they were abused as children by volunteers and employees of the organization, according to WHYY PBS.

This lawsuit reportedly employs a new strategy, and aims to make use of New Jersey’s new law that extended the statute of limitations and allows victims time to file lawsuits over sexual abuse claims from many years ago.

The four former Boy Scouts say that they suffered childhood sexual abuse at the hands of scout leaders in Indiana, Texas, Wisconsin and Arkansas. They seek to litigate in New Jersey because when the abuse occurred, the headquarters for the Boy Scouts was in New Jersey.

According to the former scouts, decisions made about staffing and other organizational procedures contributed to their abuse. Allegedly, these decisions originated in New Jersey, so the men argue that they should be able to file their claims in that state.

WHYY PBS notes that attorney Marci Hamilton weighed in on the new lawsuit. Hamilton is the founder and CEO of the CHILD USA advocacy group and says that it is not clear if judges in the Garden State will allow the lawsuit to move forward. Hamilton told WHYY PBS that, if this lawsuit does move forward, it could pave the way for other, similar claims.

On the choice to file the Boy Scout child abuse lawsuit in New Jersey, one of the former scouts who filed the lawsuit says, “If Indiana isn’t going to do the right thing, than at least somebody is doing the right thing to get this topic the proper exposure and the proper closure for all of us.”

The Boy Scouts of America have faced hundreds of sexual abuse claims nationwide, says PBS. Allegedly, these sex abuse lawsuits have caused the Boy Scouts of America such financial strain that bankruptcy has been considered as a strategy to protect its assets. 

Hamilton then goes on to explain how the looming bankruptcy has spurred victims and attorneys to file abuse lawsuits against BSA quickly before the organization shields itself from the damages that lawsuits can bring.

Boy Scouts of America has made several changes to policies and procedures in recent years, ostensibly with the goal of better protecting children, says PBS. These efforts include setting up a helpline and email address to give scouts access to counseling and provide an avenue for reporting abuse. 

Additionally, the organization now requires no scout leader to have one-on-one contact with children mandates background checks for volunteers and requires abuse to be reported.

As allegations of sexual abuse in organizations like the Boy Scouts of America have increased in recent years, multiple states have implemented law changes to better protect victims. 

States including New Jersey, New York, and California have all implemented new laws that give victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits against their alleged abusers, and have implemented a “look back window” that allows victims to file such lawsuits against abusers for a certain window of time even if the statue of limitations would otherwise prevent them from doing so.

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This article is not legal advice. It is presented
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