The Boy Scouts of America — The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for bankruptcy in February 2020 to restructure and establish a compensation fund for victims of sexual abuse.
The organization faced numerous lawsuits alleging abuse by scout leaders and volunteers dating back decades.
The BSA’s sexual abuse issues gained public attention as survivors came forward demanding accountability.
The bankruptcy filing allowed the Boy Scouts of America to halt litigation, offer compensation to victims, and emerge as a more sustainable organization.
The Boy Scouts of America has apologized to victims for failing to protect children and acknowledged the need for change.
The organization continues to provide valuable programs to youth across the country.
On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America announced that it would start distributing compensation to the victims of sexual abuse after going through bankruptcy.
The organization will pay $2.4 billion from a Victims Compensation Trust as part of a settlement involving more than 82,000 survivors of abuse.
The court established the Victims Compensation Trust amid the organization’s bankruptcy restructuring.
Roger Mosby, the Chief Scout Executive, President, and CEO of the Boy Scouts of America, released a statement saying:
“This is a significant milestone for the BSA as we emerge from a three-year financial restructuring process with a global resolution approved with overwhelming support of more than 85% of the survivors involved in the case.”
“Our hope is that our Plan of Reorganization will bring some measure of peace to survivors of past abuse in Scouting, whose bravery, patience and willingness to share their experiences has moved us beyond words.”
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In September 2022, a Delaware federal bankruptcy court judge approved the confirmation of a reorganization plan for the Boy Scouts of America.
“These boys – now men – seek and deserve compensation for the sexual abuse they suffered years ago,” said Chief Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein.
“Abuse which has had a profound effect on their lives and for which no compensation will ever be enough.”
“They also seek to ensure that to the extent BSA survives, there is an environment where sexual abuse can never again thrive or be hidden from view.”
A group comprising more than two dozen law firms representing more than 70,000 claimants called the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice said the final approval was historic for tens of thousands of survivors of childhood sexual assault.
“The confirmation of this Plan makes closure possible and some measure of justice tangible for people whose voices have been silenced for far too long,” said Coalition representatives.
“The court found that the BSA’s liability for abuse claims is most likely between $2.4 billion and $3.6 billion, and approved settlements that will provide for initial funding of $2.279 billion to survivors: $78 million from the BSA, $515 million from local councils, $30 million from the United Methodist Church, and $1.656 billion from settling insurers.”
Apart from the settlement payout agreements, the terms of the reorganization plan also require the implementation of safety measures and protections for today’s (and future) generations of Scouts.
Praise for the decision
Adam Slater, an attorney and co-founder of Coalition, commended the court for bringing survivors closer to justice.
“After years of protracted bankruptcy proceedings and decades of suffering in silence, tens of thousands of survivors of childhood sexual assault will now receive some tangible measure of justice,” said Slater.
“With this decision, the plan will now become effective, and the Trust will be able to begin distribution of the historic $2.45B settlement fund.”
“Even more important, it means that the safety measures and protections for current and future Scouts included in the Plan will also be put into place,” he added.
“And we know that for many survivors, this has been the highest priority.”
Since then, the Boy Scouts of America have established several protocols to provide barriers to abuse.
The protocols include the following:
- A screening process for criminal background checks for new adult leaders and staff
- A policy that requires two youth-protection trained adults to be present around youth during scouting activities
The policy would also ban one-on-one situations so adults would be prohibited from interacting with children alone.