Attorney Jeff Anderson said Tuesday that he's identified 130 perpetrators of child sex abuse in the Boy Scouts of America in New York. Anderson and Greg Gianforcaro's law firm also announced they've identified 50 other Boy Scout leaders in New Jersey who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors.
The names stem from the Boy Scouts' so-called "Perversion Files." During a morning press conference, Anderson said, "This is far from complete. The work has just begun."
Anderson said, "There is a great hope, there is great promise, and there is a great problem, and that is part of what we are revealing here today."
Former speedskater and sexual abuse survivor Bridie Farrell joined Anderson at the press conference and said their decision to alert the public about the allegations against the Boy Scouts is "about how these organizations are moving these players, these pieces on a chess board, around to harm communities. Who are the adults making these decisions?"
According to NJ.com, Anderson's firm and the firm of Greg Gianforcaro planned to hold a press conference in Newark Tuesday afternoon where they were expected to name 50 other accused Scout leaders.
New Jersey attorney seeks to give abuse survivors "their voice back."
Attorney Greg Gianforcaro spoke at a press conference in Newark, New Jersey on Tuesday, denouncing the lack of leadership of Boy Scouts of America pertaining to the sexual abuse allegations and stating his law firm is issuing the names of allegedly abusive Scout leaders in order to give victims their voices back.
"We are trying to get victims in the Boy Scouts, among the Boy Scouts, former Boy Scouts, their voice back," Gianforcaro said on Tuesday, standing beside two abuse survivors. "I mean, what happens when you're sexually abused as a child is horrific. But what you lose as a victim - and certainly, these two fine people to my left and to my right will better testify to this than I can -- but you lose your voice, you lose power and control."
"And this is about the institution failing to do the right thing, failing to disclose the names," he continued. "It shouldn't be us disclosing these names. It should be the institutions. It should be the Boy Scouts. They should be up here, issuing the names of their leaders."
Attorney says 7,819 alleged abusers have been in Boy Scouts
Anderson said that testimony from a January trial revealed that there were at least 7,819 alleged child sex abusers in the Boy Scouts and over 12,000 victims between 1944 and 2016. Anderson said, "We are ready to take action and we will take action as soon as the law allows us to in August."
New law increases statute of limitations for abuse claims
Anderson spoke about the new Child Victims Act in New York that was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and takes effect in August. The law increases the statute of limitations of alleged sexual abuse claims from age 23 to age 28, basing them on age rather than the length of time since the alleged incidents, and allows victims to press civil charges against their accusers before they reach 55.
Anderson said the statute of limitations in New York has been changed so "survivors can be heard."
He also spoke of the new law's privacy protections: "Survivors can remain private and be confidential and know they don't have to stand in front of a microphone and be public with their horror, their rape, their experience."
"We could not wait until August to get this information out," Anderson said, noting that the Boy Scouts' had been keeping records since as early as 1944.
Speedskater Bridie Farrell speaks during sexual abuse press conference
Farrell has been public for several years about the alleged abuse she suffered as a teenager. Skating teammate and former Olympian Andy Gabel apologized in 2013 for displaying "poor judgment in a brief, inappropriate relationship" to the Chicago Tribune.
"As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I never thought I'd speak publicly in a room to people who would listen," Farrell said on Tuesday. "The idea that my experiences are being heard and validated is a monumental shift in my life."
Now 37, she said she was molested at 15 and drew a connection to the alleged abuses against those in the Boy Scouts: "Imagine 12,000 of me. And that's only 12,000 that were identified."
"It's super empowering to know you are making true systemic change, " she said.
Actions draw on release of "Perversion Files" in 2012
Tuesday's announcements draw and expand upon the "Perversion Files" a 14,500-page list created by the Boy Scouts between 1965 and 1985 naming "Ineligible Volunteers" who had been individuals employed by the Boy Scouts of America. The list was only released in 2012 by the Oregon Supreme Court.
According to NJ.com, a collection of authorities, from priests to police chiefs, protected Scoutmasters and others accused of sexual abuse, rationalizing their decision as necessary to protect the reputation of the Boy Scouts' name.
On Tuesday, the Jeff Anderson firm planned to reveal testimony of over 7,000 alleged child sex abusers in the Boy Scouts.
Boy Scouts of America has issued a statement
The Boy Scouts issued a statement Monday night saying that they "care deeply about all victims of child sex abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting."
"We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice," the statement read. "Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in Scouting and we are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children."