Boyscouts Protest Over Misleading Ads Targeting Boyscout Abuse Victims

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After a surge of Boy Scouts sexual abuse cases, threats to reputation, the decline in membership, and constant struggle with insurance companies, Boy Scouts have asked that misleading ads meant for potential Boy Scouts sexual abuse claims should be put to a stop. 

DOVER Del, the Boy Scout of America attorney has asked the judge in Delaware to halt misleading information and ads from law firms in regards to filing of sexual abuse claims. The aim is to protect the Boy Scout sexual abuse victims from being misled or confused by such ads as they are put out by law firms seeking their own interest and trying to solicit for business from victims who were molested years about by scoutmasters. 

After the deadline for sexual abuse claims Boy Scout leaders have been filed for November 16. The process of notifications of survivors was also put in place in order to be aware, file suit, and be eligible for compensation. This is because failure to meet the deadline will bar survivors from filing suits in the future.

The organization then plans on embarking on nationwide Boy Scout claims notifications campaigns that are expected to flood television, radio, and the internet world. The program they claim is expected to reach more than 100 million people, with more than 95% of the primary target audience of men 50 and older included. An expert also stated that men in that age group are expected to be more than half of the former Boy’s Scout and at least 71% of abuse survivors who are yet to file their claims against the organizations.

However, Boy Scout of America attorneys argue in the court filing that there are law firms including the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice, engaging in their own aggressive campaigns that contain false and misleading information to solicit sexual abuse claims. They claim further that many ads stated that survivors can file for claims anonymously while some promises huge compensation from a $1.5 billion. Moreover, the motion states that many ads are asking potential claimants to call a hotline number or contact a lawyer will have survivors believing that they need to have a lawyer before filing a case which is not necessarily true. The BSA attorneys in the court filing argued further that there is set to be confusion for potential claimants as the law firms’ advertisements will collide with their notification campaigns. 

BSA said that the claim process doesn’t include victims filing for case anonymously but rather requires the provision of their names and some other personal information that will be kept confidential. The organization further asserts that these pieces of information are inaccurate as they have the right to defenses against the claims and compensation is not guaranteed. Besides no value for money on the compensation fund has been established yet, hence, mentioning such rewards is simply misleading to potential claimants. 

In the statement in the USA Today, BSA said “Robust noticing of the claims bar date is essential to ensure that abuse survivors have the opportunity to come forward and receive compensation from a potential trust, but it is imperative that all plaintiffs’ attorney advertisements are accurate. Much of the plaintiffs’ attorney advertising currently airing ranges from false to misleading, creating a substantial risk of confusing survivors.” 

BSA attorneys are asking the federal judge to take any action against such misleading ads and make more clarifications that any advertisement or notifications would have to be authorized by the BSA or court. And that those approved are the only ones permitted to be directed to the potential claimants. 

However, this BSA filling does not sit well the victims of Boy Scout sexual abuse attorney and the judge, Laurie Selber Silverstein as she stated that “I’m not downplaying the significance of the concerns, but of course that’s juxtaposed against the rights of attorneys to advertise.” she rejected the order to place restrictions on ads submitted by the Boy Scout of America on Monday as she deemed the case to be too broad and has no inclination to issue the order as it might include advertisements that are accurate with no deception. She is skeptical that this might be an attempt on the part of the BSA to limit the number of claims. The judge then said she needed more time to decide on the final rulings in regards to the restrictions of Boy Scout sexual abuse ads and the issue will be readdressed on September 9. 

The  Coalition of Abused Scout said all these are subtle attempts to reduce the number of claims as those ads are threats to the BSA. they argue that any restrictions would compromise the First Amendment rights and they have the right to provide information regarding the sexual abuse as far as it is accurate, clear, and unfiltered. Hence, abuse survivors can continue to seek Boy Scout’s Sexual abuse help when they need assistance.