May 28, 2019

Impending BSA Bankruptcy Filing Could Deprive Sex Abuse Victims of Justice

In response to the flood of BSA sex abuse cases coming out of the shadows, the Boy Scouts of America debated filing for bankruptcy since 2018. Now, sources closely following BSA developments indicate the Scouts could file for bankruptcy as soon as the end of May.

The news of bankruptcy first arose December 2018 when the BSA released a letter to employees about the option of filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“We are working with experts to explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted,” wrote BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh in the letter.

Now, it seems the BSA concluded filing for bankruptcy is the option they will decide upon. Reliable authorities following these lawsuits reveal the Scouts may file for bankruptcy as soon as May 31st.

Insurance companies continue to balk at aiding the BSA in paying settlements for survivors, maintaining their claim that the BSA could have done more to prevent abuse. Their refusal to aid the BSA fuels the nonprofits inclination to address sex abuse allegations through bankruptcy over traditional state courts. While the BSA holds assets worth over $1 billion, officials fear it may not help cover the predicted massive legal loses.

A researcher hired by the BSA to analyze the organization’s records from 1944 to 2016 identified at least 12, 254 victims of Scouting sexual abuse and over 7, 819 abusers. These numbers remain approximated considering the likelihood of some cases never being reported. The serious extent of scouting abuse over the decades and the recent spike in lawsuits against the Scouts greatly sways the organization’s impending decision. But their choice could remove access to justice for many BSA sex abuse victims.

Filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy would allow the BSA time to reorganize a plan of action to keep the nonprofit running and to pay creditors over time. This would halt the filing of BSA sex abuse lawsuits in the meantime. If bankruptcy is approved, lawsuits would be redirected to bankruptcy courts as a creditor rather than state courts. Unfortunately, this would dramatically shorten survivor’s time frame to file a claim with the bankruptcy court and block most future claims.

While the BSA has recently strove to take measures in providing better protection for children in the Scouts, the scope of their past failures cannot be left ignored or unaddressed. BSA sex abuse survivors’ window for justice may narrow soon—contact us today to learn how we can help you fight for your right for justice.


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