Boy Scouts of America sexual assault cases bring attention to abuse of young men


Cherie Cullen

Even though the scouts is a great learning experience for young men, this court case proves that without appropriate screening of leaders boys are at more of a risk to be assaulted.

Caroline Daily, Co Editor-in-Chief


“There’s a whole thing where you have to be a strong guy, people don’t want to admit that [they] have been violated.

— Ben Castillo ('24)

The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in Feb of 2020 to deal with the sex abuse claims that have been filed by thousands of boy scouts. The settlement reached millions of dollars and reached its end in April, but the case is not being discussed enough and the abuse of young men is continued to be ignored by society.   

Recently, young men came forward with their stories of abuse. The boys were often taken advantage of because they were young and manipulated into thinking they were being “taught” something.   

One of the men who came forward was John Sakowicz, who was raped by a scout leader at the age of twelve, and the same thing happened to his friend Patrick Quinn by the same offender. Sakowicz has been dealing with the traumatizing event for decades to try and overcome it, Quinn on the other hand started drinking at 12 years old and died of liver failure at 18.   

These disturbing stories are true to more than 60,000 men, who are now suing the organization because of the abuse that was allowed to happen. The case has accumulated to 850 million dollars becoming the “largest settlement of sexual abuse claims in United State history,” according to NPR.   

The settlement also fights for more requirements of youth protection measures, a reporting system for these young men, formation of a Child Protection Committee, as well as information sharing about abuse related claims, all measures to try and prevent future abuse in a place that is supposed to be safe for children. Each survivor of the abuse is also expected to get 10,000 dollars from the settlement.  

History teacher Mr. Ed Martin was in the boy scouts as a young man and worked for them for nine years. When he first heard about the case, he understood that when adults are in charge of young kids just one of them could ruin the lives of so many people. However, these former boy scouts coming forward is a huge step in recognizing the assault that boys encounter as well.   

“I think it makes it more acceptable to come forward,” Martin says, “and it probably wasn’t for the first 30 years of the organization, but if it makes you more likely to say something if something goes wrong, then that’s a win in itself”.   

The stereotype that men face to always be masculine and to never show emotion is obviously harmful. But it also pushes men to keep their stories a secret because they don’t want to be perceived as “weak” by society. Many victims had to suffer the effects of sexual assault alone while their assaulters roamed freely for years.   

“There’s a whole thing where you have to be a strong guy,” boy scout Ben Castillo (’24) says, “People don’t want to admit that [they] have been violated.”   

With media continuing to cover cases like the Boy Scouts of America it will allow men to feel more comfortable to come forward about stories of sexual assault, and hopefully society will be more willing to believe them. The Boy Scouts is great place for young men to learn life skills, but in every area of life there will always be bad people that will do terrible things to others. The important thing is that the Boy Scouts of America is taking action to bring awareness to young men being assaulted while also compensating them for the violence they experienced.