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Ohio bill would allow Boy Scout sexual abuse victims to receive full settlement

For the 1,911 victims in Ohio, the settlement money that's coming to them won't be 100% of that what they are owed unless lawmakers pass House Bill 709.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In what lawmakers call a highly unusual settlement agreement, the Boy Scouts of America has agreed to pay 82,000 sex abuse victims nationwide a settlement regardless of a state's statute of limitations which limits the time a victim can come forward claiming abuse.

For the 1,911 victims in Ohio, the settlement money that's coming to them won't be 100% of what they are owed unless lawmakers pass House Bill 709 known as the Scout's Honor Bill.

Among the victims praying for its passage is Mujaddid Muhammad of Columbus.

Muhammad said he was sexually abused at Boy Scout camp.

"It happened around 9 years old. It was over a period of several months," he said.

Muhammad said he doesn't remember the name of the man who abused him but said he was murdered by another parent who found out his son was abused by the Boy Scout leader.

Muhammad said the trauma he endured drove him to a life a crime because he had no one to talk to and said it ate at him inside.

"My last sentence was 32 years that I did, 27 years so my whole life was impacted by that trauma," he said.

The co-sponsors of the Scout's Honor Bill are Republican Bill Seitz of Cincinnati and Jessica Miranda, a Democrat from Forest Park.

Both said the bill is key for Ohio victims to receive all the money they are entitled to as part of the settlement.

"As opposed to only 35 to 40% which these survivors would only receive under Ohio's current statute of limitations," Miranda said.

Seitz is a surprise supporter of the bill, as he is a staunch supporter of statute of limitations.

"I do not favor a limitless statute of limitations," Seitz said.

Seitz said in this case, the Boy Scouts agreed to allow states to waive their statute of limitations. Because of that, Seitz said it made sense to make sure victims in Ohio didn't receive less money than victims in other states.

"It's a matter of fairness to the Ohio victims and we've been invited to do it by the boy scouts themselves," Seitz said.

Miranda, who is a victim of sexual abuse, said Ohio's laws don't go for enough to invite victims to come forward because of the statute of limitations. She said as long as the crimes remain hidden for several years, pedophiles and others will never be prosecuted.

"According to childusa.org, Ohio is failing survivors and Ohio is failing our children. Current Ohio law is failing all of us who are survivors," she said.

Ohio lawmakers must pass the Scout's Honor Bill by June 2023 in order to be eligible for the settlement.

Lawmakers on both sides believe they can get it passed before the end of this year.

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