KEY POINTS

  • The number of abuse allegations against the Boy Scout exceeded claims filed against the Catholic Church
  • The majority of accusers were aged 8 to 93
  • The sexual abuse cases were revealed in Oregon in 2010

More than 82,000 people have accused the Boy Scouts of America of sex abuse nine months after the organization filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February.

The century-old institution has been deluged with 82,663 sex-abuse lawsuits perpetrated by scoutmasters in recent months. Lawyers say the numbers could still rise before Monday's deadline in bankruptcy court in Delaware.   

The Boy Scouts had initially filed for Chapter 11 protections in February, which allowed the group to keep operating while establishing a victims’ compensation fund to pay for the demands for damages. 

A coalition of attorneys said they had clients across the United States and victims whose abuse occurred overseas, including in Japan and Germany. The majority of the accusers were men between the ages of 8 to 93. 

Paul Mones, a lawyer who has worked on Boy Scout-related lawsuits for decades, said the number of cases might only reflect a fraction of victims. The filings also included details of sexual abuse that he found "breathtaking," The New York Times reported. 

"I knew there were a lot of cases," Mones said. "I never contemplated it would be a number close to this."

Lawyers said the claims far exceeded the number of abuse allegations made against the Catholic Church, which reached 9,000 lawsuits. 

In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America said they were devastated to learn the number of victims abused by scoutmasters. They also said they were seeking an accessible process for survivors to receive compensation for the damage done. 

"The response we have seen from survivors has been gut-wrenching," the statement read. "We are deeply sorry."

The staggering amount of sexual abuse cases was first revealed after Mones worked in a case in Oregon that involved Kerry Lewis, a scout who became an abuse victim in the early 1980s. The lawyer pressed the organization to release case records to a 2010 hearing in Oregon. 

The Boy Scouts turned over parts of the list spanning from 1965 to 1985. The case records showed that 7,800 Scout leaders had abused at least 12,000 boys. The organization was also found to have kept "perversion files" that documented abuse allegations against their Scoutmasters and leaders from law enforcement, The Cut reported. 

"The Boy Scout policy for decades was not to report to law enforcement. In fact, they allowed many of these men to go quietly into that good night and leave," Mones said. 

"The Boy Scouts have never given a straight answer as to why they never reported to law enforcement," he added.  Boys Scouts The father of an autistic boy sued the Boy Scouts of America after they refused to let his son progress into higher ranks because he has Down syndrome. In this photo, Boy Scouts salute the raising of the flag at Zachery Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, May 26, 2007. Photo: Getty Images/ Andy Lyons