Fifty-eight years ago, Edward Pittson says, the Scoutmaster who had taught him skills like how to use a compass and light a campfire said he was going to teach Pittson about sex. The Scoutmaster invited Pittson, who was 12, to his house and asked him to lie on the bed. The man assured the boy he had seen other Boy Scouts naked. “This is the normal way to learn about sex,” Pittson recalls the Scoutmaster telling him. “He said, ‘But don’t tell your parents what I’m doing. They wouldn’t think you’re mature enough. They wouldn’t understand.’” The man told him a “dirty story,” pulled down his pants and masturbated him. Pittson can’t remember if this happened one time, or if the Scoutmaster invited him over again a few weeks later, but he does remember pulling up his pants after a few minutes and walking out of the room. “He called after me, calling me a baby and trying to make me feel guilty,” Pittson recalls. “I just wanted to go home.”
About four years later, Pittson, around 16 and furious that the man remained a Scoutmaster, told his parents what had happened. He says his parents went to the bishop at their local church in Northern California, the same church that sponsored the Boy Scout troop, and the Scoutmaster was quietly removed from his position. Pittson says he also spoke to the bishop, but as far as he knows, nobody reported the Scoutmaster to the police. Now, Pittson is one of hundreds of men and boys hoping for a last chance at restitution if the Boy Scouts of America, in the face of a new wave of abuse allegations, files for bankruptcy.
On Thursday, a group of attorneys said they’d collected information from at least 428 men and boys whose accounts of rape, molestation and abuse indicate the Boy Scouts’ pedophile problem is far more widespread than the organization has previously acknowledged. These men are speaking out for the first time, and several of them detailed their allegations of abuse in interviews with TIME. (TIME was not able to confirm the men’s specific accounts but spoke with others who said they’d been told of the incidents. TIME also obtained a police report filed by one of the individuals alleging abuse.) If the Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy, the accusers will have a limited window to file claims against the organization, pitting the men and their lawyers in a race against time.
Read more: These Men Say the Boy Scouts' Sex Abuse Problem Is Worse Than Anyone Knew