Boy Scouts of America Files for Bankruptcy After Sexual Abuse Allegations
Boy Scouts of America has faced increasing legal costs due to multiple sexual abuse lawsuits.
Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy.
The organization announced the news in a press release early Tuesday morning. The filing comes after years of allegations of sexual abuse within the organization, and amid increasing legal costs as it faces multiple sexual abuse lawsuits, according to NBC News.
In the press release, the BSA said that the bankruptcy filing had “two key objectives”: to compensate victims of abuse within the Boy Scouts by setting up a Victims Compensation Trust, and to allow the BSA to continue its mission for “years to come.”
“The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children,” Roger Mosby, BSA’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
“While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process — with the proposed Trust structure — will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA’s important mission,” Mosby continued.
The press release noted that local Boy Scouts councils, which are legally separate and financially independent from the national organization, are not included in the bankruptcy filing.
BSA also said that “Scouting programs, including unit meetings and activities, council events, other Scouting adventures and countless service projects” will continue throughout the bankruptcy process.
The news comes just over a year after it was first reported that the organization was considering filing for bankruptcy.
The details of how bankruptcy will affect the ongoing sexual abuse lawsuits are unclear, but the filing will likely halt the lawsuits and transfer them to federal bankruptcy court, meaning alleged victims may not be able to have a jury trial, according to NBC News.
“They’re going into bankruptcy not because they don’t have the money,” lawyer Tim Kosnoff, who has represented victims of child abuse, including many against the Boy Scouts, told USA Today. “They’re going into bankruptcy to hide … a Mount Everest in dirty secrets.”
The Boy Scouts organization — which has about 2.2 million youth members throughout the country — has also been in the news in recent years for its announcement in January 2017 that transgender children who identify as boys could be Boy Scouts and its decision in October 2017 to include girls in the program.