Aug. 6 (UPI) -- About 800 men have come forward with claims of abuse in a new lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, a group of attorneys said Tuesday.
The complaint said sexual abuse occurred over the span of eight decades in nearly every state. The new accusations are based on the accounts of hundreds of men who reported them during the spring, when the attorneys were investigating for the lawsuit. The suit, filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, names as defendants Texas-based Boy Scouts of America; the Penn Mountains Council, a chartered organization of the Boy Scouts; and an alleged abuser.
The main plaintiff is a man who says his scoutmaster drugged and assaulted him years ago.
"There is a crisis in the Boy Scouts," attorney Stewart Eisenberg told reporters Tuesday.
Eisenberg is part of a group of attorneys called Abused in Scouting, which formed in February to investigate new reports of abuse. He said the group was contacted by 800 men.
The Boy Scouts of America said last spring it kept a list of thousands of leaders suspected of abuse and barred from scouting activity, called the "perversion files" or "ineligible volunteers." The attorneys said they have identified about 350 abusers not listed in the BSA file. Their omissions from the list, they said, show BSA didn't properly vet volunteers and hid the extent of abuse.
"It is apparent that the Boy Scout defendants continue to hide the true nature their coverup and the extent of the pedophilia epidemic within their organizations because the vast majority of new victims coming forward involve claims of abuse at the hands of pedophiles who are not yet identified by the Boy Scouts of America," the complaint states.
Some of the accused leaders were disciplined administratively for similar crimes after the assaults, USA Today reported. Among them were men in prominent positions like police officers, members of the military, teachers, a mayor and a child psychologist.
The attorneys called on Congress, which created the Boy Scouts more than a century ago, to act.