Follow us
  >    >  Institutional Sexual Abuse

Institutional Sexual Abuse


The heart-wrenching saga of sexual abuse inflicted upon children under the care of institutions and organizations has persisted for decades. However, it has only been in the past seventy years that these victims of sexual assaults have finally started to see their perpetrators face justice and victims compensated.


In the past two decades, a number of large-scale cases have pierced the veil of secrecy that helped to perpetuate these horrendous actions by predators placed in positions of care, supervision, and authority. The scandal uncovered by The Boston Globe in 2002 about sexual abuse by clergy and the subsequent coverup by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston was one of the first such cases to thrust this abhorrent epidemic into the spotlight. Subsequently, the #MeToo movement that has gained steam in the past several years has further emboldened victims of child sexual assault to speak out.


Catholic Archdiocese of Boston sex abuse scandal was chronicled in the movie, Spotlight, which was released in 2015.  In the years following the initial scandal being exposed, Catholic Archdiocese around the country have faced lawsuits and sexual abuse by clergy exposed. As of 2018, the Catholic Dioceses have paid more than $3.8 billion to settle nearly 9,000 claims of sexual assault by members of their clergy. A 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report chronicled the horrific abuse by more than 300 priests over the course of several decades.


The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States. Though the number of participants has recessed over the past few decades, there were more than five million youths and nearly one million adult volunteers involved in the organization in 1980. By 1994, more than 2,000 cases of sexual abuse had been reported. In 2010 a jury ordered BSA to pay $18.5 million to a scout who was abused in the 1980s. in February of 2018, as more than 100,000 claims had begun to be filed over abuses that had occurred over the past forty years, the BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As part of the BSA reorganization plan, all parties who had not previously come forward about the abuse they suffered had until November 16, 2020, to do so. BSA is believed to have between $1 billion and $10 billion in assets that could be liquidated to settle the outstanding suits.


Former Penn State University assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky was indicted in 2011 on forty counts of sex crimes against young boys following a three-year investigation into abuses that occurred over a fifteen-year period while he was employed at the university. In June of 2012, Sandusky was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison and three Penn State officials were charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, failure to report suspected child abuse, and related charges.


In 2016 The Indianapolis Star reported that several prominent current and former members of the Women’s USA Olympic Gymnastics team had been sexually assaulted by longtime team doctor, Larry Nassar, who served in a similar post at Michigan State University. Nassar pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges in July 2017, after law enforcement discovered more than 37,000 images of child pornography in Nassar’s possession and more than 265 women came forward recounting instances of sexual assault.


A 2016 qui tam report by a senior nurse at the University of Southern California’s (USC) rape crisis center led to a 2018 Los Angeles Police Department began investigating complaints from more than 50 women of sexual assault by University of Southern California (USC) gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, who had been at their medical center for more than 25 years. In October of 2018, USC announced a $215 million settlement in a federal class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of women treated by Dr. Tyndall during his tenure at the university hospital.


According to FBI statistics, as of 2010 an act of forcible rape is committed every six minutes in the US. The lifelong effects on a child are devastating, especially when the acts are perpetrated by someone in a position of trust and authority. The true number of assaults is unfortunately much higher than what is known, as many children are too young to understand, confused, ashamed, afraid, or have been threatened not to report these vile incidents.


Newsworthy Links:

    1. http://archive.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/archive/extras/coverups_archive.htm
    2. https://www.bishop-accountability.org/AbuseTracker/
    3. https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/24/us/catholic-church-abuse-payments/index.html
    4. http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2018/images/08/15/pa.grand.jury.report.priests.pdf
    5. https://time.com/5912452/boy-scouts-sexual-abuse-bankruptcy/
    6. https://www.npr.org/2011/11/08/142111804/penn-state-abuse-scandal-a-guide-and-timeline
    7. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2016/09/12/former-usa-gymnastics-doctor-accused-abuse/89995734/
    8. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-06/judge-says-he-will-sign-off-on-215-million-settlement-with-ex-patients-of-campus-gynecologist