As Hawaii’s extension for survivors of sexual abuse to take legal action ended on April 24, eight men claiming they were sexually abused when they were Boy Scouts nearly half a century ago filed a lawsuit.

The men, who now live in Hawaii, Washington state, Oregon and California, say they were abused as young boys in the 1960s and 1970s. The suit was filed as the state’s special window – opened in 2018 – to file lawsuits over sexual abuse came to an end.

Lawsuit filed after the BSA claims bankruptcy

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February after hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits were filed as the BSA looks to create a compensation fund for those who were molested by scoutmasters or other leaders.

The Chapter 11 filing effectively halts lawsuits against the national organization while the group works on its bankruptcy plan, which the BSA claims may be its only option to survive. The Hawaii lawsuit names the Boy Scouts’ Aloha Council as the defendant. While it was filed in state court, it is unclear whether it will be transferred to bankruptcy court.

States extend windows for survivors

Several states either suspended or extended their statute of limitations allowing survivors to file lawsuits for abuse that occurred several decades ago. Hawaii is one of the first to close that window, while extensions remain in many other states.

As of Jan. 1 of this year, Illinois removed the statute of limitations entirely for survivors of sexual abuse and other major sex crimes. The new law represents a huge victory for survivors – many who suffered years of fear and trauma that created devastating consequences.