Child molestation in youth development organizations is not a new tragedy. However, in recent months, a string of cases involving abusive leaders in youth programs has made media headlines.
Youth Sexual Assault in the News
In just the last four months, the number of reports of child sexual abuse in youth programs has struck alarm. Several past and current leaders in programs such as Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, Big Brothers, and Big Sisters of America have been arrested on charges of sexually abusing children involved in their programs:
- October 19, 2018: Girl Scouts leader Stacy Mizrahi is arrested on four counts of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography.
- November 14, 2018: Boys & Girls Club employee Derek Branch is arrested on charges of having carnal knowledge of a 14-year-old girl.
- December 10, 2018: YMCA employee Jermaine Ward admits to assaulting a 4-year-old girl and taking a nude photo a boy.
- December 11, 2018: Boys and Girls Club employee Joshua Adams is charged with 13 counts of sexual assaulting an underage girl.
- December 15, 2018: Volunteer Girl Scout Leader Steven Faust is arrested for repeatedly sexually assaulting a child between 2010 and 2015.
- December 18, 2018: Police arrest YMCA employee BT Adams for sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl, which was allegedly caught on camera.
While these perpetrators are being brought to justice, statistics show that 99% of sex offenders will not be punished for their crimes. This is largely due to underreporting by the victims in many cases.
Boy Scouts to File Bankruptcy Over Lawsuits
In December, the Boy Scouts of America announced they will inevitably file for Chapter 11 protection bankruptcy amid an overwhelming number of pending child sex abuse lawsuits. A business can file for Chapter 11 when it is unable to service its debt or pay its creditors.
The Boy Scouts of America has struggled for decades to restore its reputation. When two former scouts settled a landmark case against the Boy Scouts and their former scoutmaster in 2003, the organization was ordered to divulge its entire record on predatory scout leaders.
Since 1956, the Boy Scouts have eliminated at least 5,100 adults nationwide for sexual abuse allegations. In the past 15 years, leaders have been kicked out for these allegations at a rate of once every other day.
Lifelong Effects of Child Molestation
Child sexual abuse among youth organizations is often extremely complex due to the established relationship a child has with his or her group leader. A 2012 study from the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire found that 91% of victims knew their abuser.
Trauma from childhood sexual abuse can last a lifetime. An adult who was sexually abused as a child may suffer from anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and depression. It is common for adults to live with the memories of their abuse, often keeping it secret for many years.
Chris, a former Boy Scout from New Jersey, was 11-years-old when his troop leader began abusing him. The molestation would occur hundreds of times over the next five years.
“I was literally frozen, I just couldn’t move.”
Now an adult, Chris is sharing his story after two decades of suffering from the trauma.
“I’ve had this kind of whirlwind of mess throughout my adult life,” he said. “I’m still dealing with this, like it happened yesterday.”
Help for Child Sexual Abuse Survivors in Youth Programs
If you were sexually abused in a youth organization as a child, it’s important that you know you are not alone. Jessica Pride has helped countless survivors like yourself heal from the trauma of abuse by seeking justice in civil court. She has over ten years of experience fighting on behalf of men, women and children.
Many survivors have doubts or fears about exposing their abusers in court. We understand this valid concern and ensure you that your privacy is of utmost concern. When you speak to Jessica or The Pride Law Firm, all communication is protected by an attorney-client privilege and held in strict confidence. Your name will not be released in any form without your express consent.
Stopping the cycle of abuse is both necessary and courageous. Your voice can help free others from the oppression of child molestation.
If you have questions and would like to consider taking legal action, call Jessica Pride and The Pride Law Firm today at (619) 516-8166 for a free, confidential consultation. There is no obligation to file a lawsuit, and we are glad to be a listening ear and legal confidant for you.