As many Maryland residents may have heard, a disturbing report has emerged regarding one of America's most praised organizations. According to thousands of "perversion files" kept by the Boy Scouts of America, numerous young boys were victims of sexual abuse over the past few decades at the hands of Scout leaders.
Whenever children are injured, the news is grim. But the reports involving the Boy Scouts are beyond tragic, as several abusers were allowed to remain in the organization and perpetrate further offenses on other victims. This includes individuals in Maryland, such as a man who continued to work in the organization after he pleaded guilty to 10 sex offenses against children.
The files, made public recently by court order, reveal a spotty track record by the organization in keeping track of suspected child molesters.
Some victims may be able to push state officials to prosecute the alleged abusers. In terms of a civil lawsuit, however, the prospects for relief may be limited for some. Before 2003, Maryland victims had to sue for child abuse by the age of 21. A state law pushed that limit back to the age of 25 after 2003.
Typically, state law permits personal injury claims to be brought within a specified time period known as the statute of limitations. For injuries against minors, the minor typically does not have the time period begin until he or she turns 18-years-old. Thus, in the case of a car accident, if the statute of limitations is typically three years, as it is in Maryland, a 17-year-old injured in an accident will actually have four years from the date of the accident to file suit. The statute of limitations is vital to any personal injury suit. Victims should, therefore, work with an experienced attorney to determine when a suit must be brought.
Source: Baltimore Sun, "'Perversion files' reveal local failure in Boy Scouts," Erin Cox and Andrea F. Siegel, Oct. 19, 2012