More than 82,000 people have come forward with sex-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America, describing a decadeslong accumulation of assaults at the hands of Scout leaders across the nation who had been trusted as role models.
The claims, which lawyers said far eclipsed the number of abuse accusations filed in Catholic Church cases, continued to mount ahead of a Monday deadline established in bankruptcy court in Delaware, where the Boy Scouts had sought refuge this year in a bid to survive.
Paul Mones, a lawyer who has been working on Boy Scouts cases for nearly two decades, said the prevalence of abuse detailed in the filings was breathtaking and might reflect only a fraction of victims.
One coalition of attorneys, operating as the group Abused in Scouting, has clients from all 50 states along with cases in which the abuse occurred overseas at places such as military bases in Japan and Germany.
The accusers range in age from 8 to 93. While the vast majority are men, some women have also filed complaints.
The avalanche of claims, 82,663 of them by Sunday, set up a monumental task for the bankruptcy case as the Boy Scouts seek to one day emerge with its operations intact.
Although the national organization has more than $1 billion in assets, according to its bankruptcy filing, it also has a network of local Boy Scouts councils that own hundreds of camps and other properties across the country where Scouts can advance their skills and values along lake shores and in mountain valleys.
As the Boy Scouts seek to reorganize and set up a victims' compensation fund under the Chapter 11 filing, a judge set Monday as the deadline for victims to come forward with claims that will undergo a vetting process.
In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America said the organization was "devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in Scouting." The organization said it had sought an accessible process for survivors to seek compensation.
"The response we have seen from survivors has been gut wrenching," the organization said in the statement. "We are deeply sorry."
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