We represent more than a dozen men who were sexually abused in the 1980s by a Boy Scout leader named Thomas Hacker. After we filed suit on their behalf, the Boy Scouts moved to dismiss their claims and asserted the claims were barred by the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a law that requires people to file a lawsuit within a certain amount of time.
We responded to the Boy Scouts’ motion by arguing that our clients’ claims should not be dismissed because they filed their lawsuit shortly after learning that the Boy Scouts knew the Scout leader had a history of sexually abusing children but failed to take reasonable steps to protect them. The trial court agreed with our position and denied the Boy Scouts’ motion.
The Boy Scouts appealed, but on January 13, 2017, the Court of Appeals rejected their appeal. The Court of Appeals agreed with us that a jury should be allowed to decide whether it was reasonable for our clients to file their lawsuits shortly after learning that the Boy Scouts could have prevented their abuse.
While every case is different, this court decision is an important step in the right direction because it recognizes that abuse survivors may not realize until years after the abuse that someone like the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church could have prevented their abuse.