Written by Paul Jan Zdunek, COO at Miller Kaplan, an Instructor at UCLA and a Partner at Tipping Point Strategists. Paul is proud to be an advocate for SOL reform and for legislative change in Maryland.
**Content warning: this blog may contain content that could trigger some readers.**
My name is Paul Jan Zdunek, and I was abused by a troop leader in the Boy Scouts of America. I was only eight years old. And this abuse lasted for three long years, through fifth grade. Every week, I was abused and raped several times.
This abuse included…unimaginable acts.
To make me feel special, I was plied with alcohol – rum and Coke to be exact – and shown porn magazines and porn videos.
This abuse – one of the worst of the 82,000 cases in the Boys Scouts of America class-action lawsuit – had a devastating and long lasting effect on my life emotionally and physically, as well as destroyed many personal relationships along the way.
While the Boy Scouts of America has been found guilty and is paying a $2 billion fine, many of us are now finding ourselves re-victimized because of the Statute of Limitations in the state that our abuse happened. One of those states is Maryland – where I was repeatedly raped.
Throughout the Boy Scouts’ class-action lawsuit process, the goal has been to distribute damages based on the length and severity of the abuse, so that someone who was raped repeatedly over three years would get a substantial amount compared to someone who was inappropriately touched once. This seems fair.
The possible challenge is that the trust fund may also take into consideration the state in which the abuse happened. If that state has a Statute of Limitations that bans their claims, the amount distributed may be next to nothing. This would re-victimize these survivors.
These children of sexual abuse shouldn’t be punished again, just because of the state they grew up in. The state they were abused in was beyond their control.
In addition to my abuse by the Boy Scouts, I was sexually abused by an adult male in the Catholic church choir between the ages of twelve and sixteen; and psychologically and sexually abused by a Catholic school teacher from 6th through 9th grade.
Because Maryland, like many other states in the US, has a Statute of Limitations, I have no recourse, even though my literal nightmares continue still to this day.
On behalf of these victims, I am here to shed light on this Statute of Limitations technicality that might be re-abusing your own son or daughter, mother or father, or even your own spouse. This decision needs to play out in the court of public opinion before she makes her decision. If we are successful, she would decide that the distribution of funds – which is already in place – would not be affected by the Statute of Limitations in the state the abuse happened. She has the power to do that.
I am making myself available to any media who is willing to tell this national story, on behalf of all the thousands of abuse survivors in the many states where the Statute of Limitations may have a devasting effect on their ability for justice, so that we might increase the pressure on this Trustee to make the right, just, and fair choice for all the victims of these monsters.
All of us grown-up children are depending on you, the public, to help us.