• Thomas Parker

Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy amid sex-abuse lawsuits

Updated: Feb 26, 2020

Under threat from hundreds of sex-abuse lawsuits, Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday.

According to a spokeman for the BSA, the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing has "two key objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come. The BSA intends to use the Chapter 11 process to create a Victims Compensation Trust that would provide equitable compensation to victims."

The Boy Scouts said that only the national organization had filed for Chapter 11, and that local councils that provide programming and other services are financially independent; however, whether the assets of the Scouts' 261 local councils will be added will be determined in bankruptcy court.

The 110-year-old organization has seen finances strain under the weight of continued sexual abuse settlements and declining membership. Participation in scouting has dropped below 2 million, down from more than 4 million in its peak in the 1970s.

"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 chief executive officer, said in a statement Tuesday.

Michael Pfau, whose law firm represents nearly 300 alleged victims in more than 30 states, said that the lawsuit is historic.

"It will be far larger in terms of the numbers of victims and far more complicated than any of the bankruptcies we've seen so far involving the Catholic Church," Pfau said. "It's a real day of reckoning for the Boy Scouts."

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