Following last month’s announcement that the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to “equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come,” the organization is now calling for individuals with claims against the Boy Scouts to file through a sexual abuse compensation program. If you or someone you love suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a Scout leader or another member of the Boy Scouts organization, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering and other damages. Contact our consumer advocates at Leading Justice today to speak to an experienced child sexual abuse attorney about your claim against the BSA.
BSA Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Facing a growing number of lawsuits involving childhood sexual abuse that allegedly occurred within the organization, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in February, a move that was reported on the BSA website. At the time of the bankruptcy announcement, the organization explained its intention to “use the Chapter 11 process to create a Victims Compensation Trust that would provide equitable compensation to victims.” The BSA launched a restructuring website with the goal of ensuring that all survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Boy Scouts programs understand how they can receive the compensation they deserve.
“The BSA encourages all victims to come forward to file a claim in the case. However, the deadline for filing abuse claims has not yet been set by the Bankruptcy Court,” the restructuring website notes. “As a next step, the BSA will ask the Bankruptcy Court for approval of a proof of claim form for abuse victims. Once the Bankruptcy Court approves that form, the deadline for filing claims will be set. We expect that deadline to be later this year.” The bankruptcy filing and the development of this new compensation program come at a time when plaintiffs across the country are pursuing legal claims against the organization for sexual abuse that occurred during their time in the Scouts. Several states, including Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, have implemented new statute of limitations laws that allow adult victims of childhood sexual abuse to pursue claims against their abusers that would have otherwise been time-barred. Not surprisingly, these new statute of limitations laws spurred a mass filing of claims against the BSA.
Lawsuits Against BSA for Childhood Sexual Abuse
The explosive sexual abuse scandal in the United States implicates not just the Boy Scouts of America, but also the Catholic Church and other high-profile organizations and institutions accused of enabling child sexual abuse, protecting known sexual predators and covering up complaints of abuse for years. These new laws extending the statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims and the lawsuits that were filed as a result of the laws have been cited as the primary reasons the Boy Scouts of America declared bankruptcy. Hundreds of lawsuits have already been filed against the Boy Scouts of America over the past year, all of which involve similar allegations that the organization ignored and covered up problems with known child sex abusers, allowing the widespread abuse to continue for decades.
BSA Accused of Covering Up Child Sexual Abuse
According to the Boy Scouts restructuring website, “Approximately 90% of pending and asserted abuse claims against the BSA relate to abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago.” Indeed, many of the plaintiffs pursuing legal claims against the Boy Scouts of America are adults who were abused as children by known sexual predators who worked with the organization. “As our nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, we have an important duty to keep children safe, supported and protected while preparing them for their future,” the restructuring website states. Instead of keeping them safe, however, the BSA is accused of knowing about threats to children and allowing the ongoing abuse to continue for years by burying information about individuals within the organization who were considered sexual predators in their secret “perversion files.”
Thousands of Boys Reported Sexual Abuse by Scout Leaders, Volunteers
Ultimately, more than 12,200 boys reported experiencing sexual abuse at the hands of at least 7,800 perpetrators who were either troop leaders or volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America between 1944 and 2016, and for those hoping to recover compensation from the organization, reports of the bankruptcy filing and subsequent compensation program come as mixed news. Says one survivor, a 58-year-old man who says he was sexually assaulted by two different Scout Masters during his time as a boy scout, “Their mission statement was to raise boys into fine young men, and they knowingly put boys in harm’s way for decades. I don’t trust an organization like that to curb bad behavior on their own. They didn’t do this because they suddenly had a crisis of conscience about something they had been covering up for 50 years. It’s because there’s a financial hammer coming down on them. I hope that hammer comes down hard.”