COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio victims of child sexual abuse while in the Boy Scouts of America could see more compensation for the crimes committed against them under legislation passed by the state Senate Wednesday in a unanimous vote and is expected to be approved in the House.
The bill’s passage comes amid the organization’s bankruptcy settlement, first filed in 2020 after tens of thousands of men nationwide brought forth claims they had been sexually abused by their Scout leaders. The organization filed bankruptcy in an attempt to continue operating while still partially compensating victims after an onslaught of lawsuits against them.
Nearly 2,000 abuse claims have been filed in Ohio.
Currently, the amount victims receive from the organization’s settlement depends on the length of the statute of limitations for civil claims in the state that they live in, as well as the length and severity of their abuse.
The legislation voids the state’s current civil statute of limitations in bankruptcy cases, in an effort to ensure Ohio victims of Boy Scouts abuse get more compensation.
By voiding Ohio’s existing cutoff of 12 years, the bill would ensure that any victim filing a claim receives all of the money they’re owed through the settlement, rather than a fraction of it.
“Nearly 2,000 survivors of childhood sexual abuse are one step closer to justice today,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jessica Miranda, a Cincinnati area Democrat and survivor of sexual abuse. “I see this as the first step towards meaningful statute of limitations reform.”
The Associated Press typically does not name sexual assault victims unless they come forward publicly, as Miranda has done.
The proposed law would sunset after five years and only applies to organizations that have been federally recognized as a congressional charter — a recognition given to the Boy Scouts of America in the early 1900s.
A nearly identical version of the legislation already passed the state House, where final approval is anticipated next month.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine would need to sign off for it to become law.
A spokesman for DeWine declined to comment on the bill.