Photo Credits: The Minority Report
The Boy Scouts of America has long been plagued by serious sex abuse scandals and allegations that shook the organization to its core. Last April, a court testimony revealed that the organization believed more than 7,800 of its former leaders were involved in sexual abuse of more than 12 thousand children. Facing a wave of potential lawsuits over those sex abuse allegations, the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to protect the future of this organization. Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will allow the Boy Scouts to continue to operate while reorganizing its finances at the same time in order to pay victims.
One of the effects of filing for bankruptcy is that all civil litigation against the organization is suspended and potential victims now have a limited amount of time to file claims before indefinitely losing the opportunity to get compensation. The deadline for claims, which could be very short, may result in victims not filing a claim because they are not ready to come forward and this is why bankruptcy could be useful for the Boy Scouts. According to Washington Post, in an open letter, Jim Turley, national chair of the Boy Scouts of America, encouraged victims to come forward and file claims so they can receive compensation. “We will provide clear notices about how to do so,” he wrote. “I want you to know that we believe you, we believe in compensating you, and we have programs in place to pay for counseling for you and your family by a provider of your choice.”
This is not the first time that an organization or institution uses bankruptcy to handle costly lawsuits over abuse allegations. For example, USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy because it faces 100 lawsuits from victims who were sexually assaulted by team physician Larry Nassar. Also numerous Catholic dioceses filed for bankruptcy after diocese members were accused of sexually abusing children. Anyway, bankruptcy filing is not a magic wand that will erase what happened to victims and abolish the organization from its responsibility.
According to CNN, Paul Mones, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing "hundreds of sexual abuse victims in individual lawsuits," called the organization's bankruptcy filing a "tragedy."
"These young boys took an oath. They pledged to be obedient, pledged to support the Scouts and pledged to be honorable. Many of them are extremely angry that that's not what happened to them and the Boy Scouts of America did not step up in the way they should have," Mones said.