A coalition of tens of thousands of Boy Scouts reached the largest sex abuse settlement in US history, a $1.9 billion fund for victims that lawyers say will only continue to grow.
The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice, which represents 65,000 victims nationwide, reached a $787 million deal with former Boy Scouts of America insurer Hartford Financial Services Group and a $250 million deal with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pushing a compensation package reached earlier this summer to a record high.
A total of 82,450 survivors are entitled to the new pool of cash, which a survivor said was an “absolutely incredible” legal victory for the victims who were forced to relive their abuse, while navigating statutes of limitation laws all over the country.
“Everyone had to come back here and talk about things they’ve never talked about in their lives. It’s incredibly painful to do,” said Gill Gayle, who detailed abuse by two Alabama scoutmasters in the 70s to The Post.
“They’ve been in this kind of Dante’s Inferno of waiting. We now know that there’s a path forward and we can close this fairly soon and we can start to get some closure.”
Coalition lawyer Ken Rothweiler said that victims can expect additional settlements in the “coming weeks.” Other attorneys involved in the sex abuse claims have estimated damages to be as high as $100 billion.
“This is just the second settlement in what’s going to be a series of settlements,” Rothweiler said.
“We’re still not anywhere near finished. There are still large insurance companies that we are negotiating with as we speak. There’s the charter organizations that we are negotiating with as we speak, so the final tally is not anywhere near done. We’re trying to get as much as we can get.”
Rothweiler said a tiered payment system will award victims money based on the levels of abuse they experienced.
Most of the claimants were molested between 1965 and 1985, when the BSA allegedly covered up the identities of some 7,900 pedophiles in its ranks.
Gayle, 59, said he was unable to prosecute his first abuser — who he said is now a registered sex offender — because of Alabama’s statue of limitations. His second abuser is now dead.
“I was a child. I was 11 with the first guy, I was drugged and raped by the second guy when I was 13,” the victim said.
Gayle said before the second incident, his scoutmaster told his father that he would pick him up to go on a camping trip. Instead, he was abused.
“He gave me drugs and alcohol, I think drugged me, and I woke up in that man’s house being violently raped several hours later,” Gayle said
“I lived my life thinking that I was the most unlucky person in the world, that there was something wrong with me, that’s why these things happened to me.”
Despite Gayle’s horrific ordeal, he does hope the bankrupt Boy Scouts can stay afloat financially and find a path forward that involves owning up to its sins and meaningfully compensating his tens of thousands of fellow victims.
“We all joined the Scouts because we thought it was an organization that offered something to us that we found exciting, and maybe an important thing. It ended up being the worst thing that ever happened to us,” Gayle said.
“But I have friends who have kids who are Eagle Scouts and had great experiences and it was for them what we wanted it to be for us.”
The Boy Scouts of America did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.