Over the last few years, reports of sexual abuse among the clergy have reached a startling high, but other groups are not immune to this type of tragedy. The Boy Scouts of America has been successfully sued for ignoring claims of sexual abuse and allowing the behavior of one of its former scout leaders to continue.
The man who sued the Boy Scouts claims that he was sexually abused by Timur Dykes, who was reportedly allowed to continue supervising Scout functions even after the allegations surfaced. Eventually, Dykes was arrested and convicted of sexual abuse and is currently a registered sex offender in the state of Oregon.
The jury in the sex abuse lawsuit awarded the complainant $1.4 million in compensation, and has awarded an additional $18.4 million in punitive damages. This case may pave the way for other sexual abuse lawsuits across the country, both against the Boy Scouts of America and against other organizations that are accused of turning a blind eye toward the abuse of their members.
Injury Suffered Due to Sexual Abuse in New York
In New York, as well as in other states, the burden of proof is different for civil litigation than it is in a criminal trial. Defendants responding to criminal charges must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, while a lawsuit requires evidence to suggest that the defendant is guilty by a preponderance of the evidence.
There are also different laws regarding the statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases in New York. Criminal trials require that charges be brought within five years of the day when the victim reaches the age of majority. In civil cases, however, the victim can bring a lawsuit against a group or organization for negligence as long as it occurs within three years of the incident.
A Lawyer Can Help
Parents place their trust in an organization, such as the Boy Scouts of America, to protect their children while in their care. If an organization turns a blind eye to reports of child abuse, it is not only morally wrong, but it is something for which the group may be held legally accountable. If your child has been a victim, speak to a sexual abuse victim attorney to discuss your situation and assist you in determining your best legal options.