PEORIA — A recently passed law in New Jersey could lead to a slew of lawsuits against the Boys Scouts of America by people who claim they were sexually abused.

The law affords those who were abused by Scout leaders during the 30-year period when the organization was located in New Jersey a two-year window, beginning this December, to file suit. In a news release, a New Jersey-based attorney who represents people who allege such abuse said the suit applies to all people nationwide.

“We intend to hold the Boy Scouts accountable under this New Jersey law because the organization knew for decades while its headquarters was based in New Jersey, that thousands of Scout leaders had used their position to groom and sexually abuse children. The Boys Scouts not only failed to implement adequate policies and procedures to protect young children, but it actively swept egregious sexual abuse under the rug,” said Michael T. Pfau, a sexual abuse attorney. “Those working at the Boy Scout headquarters in New Jersey knowingly allowed sex predators to volunteer — and as a result, those Scout leaders kept gaining access to children and abusing them. Under the New Jersey law, those who have suffered sexual abuse in Illinois can now take action against the Boy Scouts if they were abused when their headquarters were in New Jersey.”

One of the cases he highlighted was that of a Peoria man who was barred from Scouts in 1981, two years after the scouts moved their national headquarters to Texas. But because the allegations were reported in the 1970s, those who were abused by that man could still file suit.

An attempt to reach an official at the W.D. Boyce Council, which covers the Peoria area, was not successful Friday. Nationally, the Boy Scouts have been sued for such allegations. In 2012, the scouting organization was ordered to release files it kept of ineligible volunteers — people who had been accused of sexual impropriety. When those files were released, there were some men who were linked to central Illinois. Since then, the Boy Scouts have said they are trying to find others who might have committed such acts and turning them over to authorities.

"We care deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting," the youth organization was quoted as saying to CNN earlier this month. "We believe victims, we support them, we pay for counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward."