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Supporters disappointed by failure of 'Scout's Honor Law' during lame duck session

The Ohio Senate is expected to vote on what's known as The Scout's Honor Law.
Mary Altaffer
The Scout's Honor Law failed to pass during the Ohio General Assembly's recent and busy lame duck session.

Supporters of a plan to raise a civil statute of limitations to let Ohio survivors of Boy Scout abuse get larger settlements are expressing disappointment that it failed to pass in the recent lame-duck legislative session.

Ohio's civil statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse currently ends at age 30.

The Scout's Honor Law would ensure that survivors in Ohio will get 100% of their settlement rather than 30 to 45%.

In a bankruptcy settlement, the Boy Scouts of America set aside nearly $3 billion for more than 82,000 sexual abuse survivors. About 1,911 of the survivors are in Ohio.

Chris Graham is not involved in that case, but he is a sexual abuse survivor and advocate for the Scout's Honor Law.

Graham said Ohio ranks poorly when it comes to statutes of limitations for sex crimes.

"It means that the Boy Scouts here in Ohio are eligible to receive less because they wouldn't be able to on their own sue the Boy Scouts of America under Ohio's current law," he said.

Graham expressed disappointment in groups that opposed the bill, which include the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

"That the Chamber of Commerce would think that it was best for Ohio businesses if these Boy Scouts got 70% less of their settlement than survivors in the state, say like Louisiana or Michigan. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I don't see how that's good for Ohio's businesses."

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce did not reply to WOSU's request for comment.

Graham said he intends to push for the bill's passage again this year.

The Boy Scouts settlement gives survivors three options to make a claim.

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.