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After nearly a year of unanswered questions and speculation, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection in response to thousands of sexual abuse lawsuits against the youth organization.

On February 18, 2020, the Boy Scouts of America filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The BSA released a statement with their bankruptcy filing explaining how they plan to respond to the sexual abuse lawsuits pending against them by establishing a Victims Compensation Trust.

“The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting,” the BSA reported in the statement.

Reports of the BSA filing for bankruptcy first came about in late 2018 as increasing numbers of former Boy Scouts brought forward sexual abuse allegations against the youth organization. Thousands of men across the U.S. and women in partnering programs claim that leaders within Boy Scouts of America programs took advantage of their authority and molested the children and teens under their care. Most of these allegations say the BSA intentionally covered up reports of sexual abuse in the Scouts and even intentionally covered the tracks of sexual predators through transfers and quiet dismissals.

The BSA’s filing for bankruptcy means that soon survivors of sexual abuse in Scouting programs will have a limited amount of time to file claims for their abuse. It is important for those abused in Scouting—no matter what their age or the state where they live—to come forward now before their chance for justice is removed for, perhaps, forever. Contact AVA Law Group today for your free, no-obligation case evaluation to see if you may be eligible to file a claim for your abuse in the Scouts.

What is Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 11 bankruptcy process offers an opportunity for BSA to design a reorganization plan to meet their obligations to creditors and restructure the organization so that it can come out of bankruptcy and continue to operate. These creditors, among other affiliated groups, include Scouting abuse survivors. The Boy Scouts say they plan to use the bankruptcy process to establish a trust that will provide compensation for Scouting abuse victims across the U.S..

As creditors, many Scouting abuse survivors wonder how will the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process impact them and their chances for justice. Essentially, the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy process effects abuse survivors in two, distinct ways:

  1. As part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, the bankruptcy court will set a deadline for filing claims. This deadline limits Scouting abuse survivors’ time to file claims for their abuse. So coming forward now while they have the chance is of the essence. 
  2. On May 18, 2020, the bankruptcy court set the deadline for filing claims for November 16, 2020. After this deadline passes, the court may not accept new claims against the BSA for sexual abuse.
  3. The bankruptcy filing means that to reach a settlement with Scouting abuse survivors across the nation, individual survivors will not get their day in court. However, the streamlined nature of settlement process may mean abuse survivors will get compensated quicker and and more efficiently than having individuals trial dates scheduled in the future.

What are the Next Steps in the Boy Scouts of America Bankruptcy Process?

One of the next steps in the bankruptcy process will be the creation of a “committee of unsecured creditors.” This is a a group of people made up of creditors to whom BSA owes unsecured obligations, which includes the potential legal liability to abuse survivors.

According to Abused in Scouting, the legal movement representing Scouting abuse survivors across the United States, “It will be essential for the United States Trustee to form an “abuse survivors” or “tort claimants” committee separate and distinct from a committee of general unsecured creditors. Such committees have regularly been created in other bankruptcies involving sex abuse or other tort claims, e.g., US Gymnastics. One will be necessary in this case to enable adequate representation of the diverse community of sex abuse victims.”

Currently, AIS is advocating for the inclusion of local councils in the bankruptcy proceeding, as well as a way to hold the sponsoring organizations accountable if they had knowledge of the abuse. To learn more about Abused in Scouting’s mission and steps during the bankruptcy process, click here.

Advocates for Scouting abuse survivors hope the BSA will not only provide compensation for past victims of sexual abuse, but will take tangible steps to reform BSA programs to ensure the safety of current and future scouts. With the bankruptcy proceedings, their is also strong advocacy for the BSA to provide all stakeholders and law enforcement access to all of the BSA’s information and files on current and past abusers in the Scouts.

Were You Abused in Scouting Programs?

Sexual abuse happened in not just the Boy Scouts affiliated Scouting programs like Sea Scouts, Exploring, and Cub Scouts. If you were abused while in the Boy Scouts or affiliated BSA programs, you are not alone or without options for help. Contact the sexual abuse lawyers with AVA Law Group to see if you are eligible to file a claim for your abuse.

The Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy filing only allow for a limited window of time for abuse survivors to pursue action against the BSA, so acting now is important to ensure you have a chance for justice against your abuser. After November 16, 2020, the bankruptcy court will not accept new claims against the BSA for sexual abuse, so coming forward now is crucial to secure your chance for compensation.

At AVA Law Group, we offer free, no-obligation case consultations to see if you are eligible to file a claim for your abuse. We always have live representatives standing by to answer your questions and concerns; contact us today at 1.866.4.AVALAW.

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