Dozens more ex-Scouts come forward alleging child abuse after Association issues public apology to victims and admits already paying out £500,000 compensation
- Scouts Association says it is ‘deeply sorry’ to those who have been hurt
- At least 30 more alleged victims have come forward since apology
- Scouts Association has admitted paying out £500,000 in compensation
- Admitted it had been wrong not to report past allegations to police
- Nearly another £400,000 has been paid out by former Scout leaders
Dozens more former Scouts have come forward to claim they were victims of child abuse after the movement issued an apology and admitted paying out £500,000 in compensation.
Yesterday, the Scout Association said it was ‘deeply sorry’ after an investigation claimed it was facing more than 50 legal cases over historic sex abuse.
Today, solicitor David McClenaghan said 30 people called his firm overnight after seeing a BBC report about two historic cases.
The Scout Association has apologised to people who were abused during their time in the organisation, saying it was ‘deeply sorry for anybody hurt by the actions of abusers’
Mr McClenaghan, of Bolt Burdon Kemp which has already represented around 30 alleged victims in recent years, told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘Since the report on the abuse in the Scout Association went out yesterday, I have been contacted overnight by an additional 30 people.
‘I think what that demonstrates is that the figures that have come out really are the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of people who have suffered abuse.’
He said the apology had been issued ‘under intense pressure from the media’.
‘It’s convenient that that has been issued now and it serves their self-interest rather than being a genuine apology to the individual people,’ he said.
The Scout Association denies claims, reported by the BBC, that 56 people have instructed solicitors to sue the association over historical abuse since October 2012.
The Scouts put the number of people who have launched civil actions since that time at 36 – more than double the number during the first century of the movement’s history.
A Scout spokesman admitted that the organisation has tried to deal with paedophiles without telling police.
The Association said: ‘We apologise to all those who have been abused during their time in scouting. The safety and support of young people in scouting is our number one priority.
‘Any abuse of young people is abhorrent and we are deeply sorry for anybody hurt by the actions of abusers. We strive to ensure these abuses do not take place.’
A spokesman added that the association had been wrong not to report past allegations to police.
‘Those were inappropriate and unacceptable responses to that situation. These were extremely rare incidences and this should not have happened. We deeply regret this failure,’ the spokesman said.
The BBC said that 56 people have instructed lawyers to sue over Scout-related abuse committed in past decades since the scale of allegations against Savile became known in 2012.
Earlier this year paedophile Scout leader Martyn Tucker was jailed for 12 years after admitting 26 sex offences against boys in the 1960s and 1970s
And it said £897,000 in damages has already been paid by the movement and by individual Scout leaders.
Last night the association said the numbers of abuse claims had been exaggerated and that it had paid less than £500,000 in compensation.
The BBC said one victim had been paid £45,000 in 2011.
He said he had been abused by a Scout leader in the early 1980s at weekly meetings and during a camp.
He said: ‘I was sickened and disgusted by it. I wanted it to stop but I couldn’t make it stop.
‘I had no one I could speak to and I didn’t know what to say.
‘Perhaps he was clever in choosing people who he knew wouldn’t be in a position to talk about it.’
The scoutmaster was investigated by the police but committed suicide before the trial began, the report revealed.
The victim later asked the association to pay for therapy to help his recovery: ‘I was looking for them to help,’ he said. ‘It was a time of crisis in my own life and I was looking for someone to be there to help address the issues I was experiencing.’
The association advised approaching the NHS but he decided to pursue a compensation claim to fund therapy privately, the BBC said.
One of the legal firms handling claims against the Scout Association is North London-based Bolt Burdon Kemp.
Lawyer David McClenaghan said that his firm had handled 33 claims, of which a number are still outstanding.
Of these, 24 have been made since the Savile abuse charges became widely known in the autumn of 2012.
‘These come from people who suffered in the 60s, 70s and 80s,’ he said. ‘It still takes great courage for people to come forward.
‘The hope is that these claims will encourage the Scout Association to put better safeguards in place to make sure this does not happen again.’
The association told the BBC that safety for young people was its ‘number one priority’.
It said that in common with other organisations it had ‘experienced an increase in reported historic cases since 2012.’
The organisation denied claims that 56 people have instructed solicitors to sue the association over historical abuse since October 2012
However, it said it had paid, together with its insurers, only £496,500 in damages to claimants in recent times.
The association also said it has received only 36 abuse claims since October 2012.
Before that, there had been only 12 sex abuse claims in over a century since the movement’s foundation in 1907, it said.
A Scout Association spokesman added that the organisation was confident that mistakes of the past would not be repeated.
‘Where there is any evidence of wrongdoing, this information is automatically passed on to the police,’ he said.
‘This is in line with a clear written code of conduct that we have had in place for the last 20 years, which requires all adults in the Movement to report suspected cases of abuse to the appropriate authorities.’
Earlier this year paedophile Scout leader Martyn Tucker was jailed for 12 years after admitting 26 sex offences against boys in the 1960s and 1970s.
A court heard how the Scout movement knew about allegations against him, but never told the police.
Tucker, now 68, abused scouts while he was assistant leader of a troop in Whitchurch, Shropshire.