The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February as lawsuits over sexual abuse continue to climb. As sexual abuse attorneys for those abused in churches, schools and other organizations, we’re not surprised.
The move comes while the BSA continues to lose members as well as experience a surge in sexual abuse lawsuits after several states expanded legal options for childhood victims to file claims.
BSA still lists assets of more than $1 billion
Under the bankruptcy petition, the Scouts list assets between $1 billion and $10 billion with debts from $500 million to $1 billion. The BSA has not revealed how many sex abuse cases have been filed in recent years, or the amount it has paid in judgments and settlements.
Court documents say insurers for the organization have refused to approve payouts in some cases, arguing that the BSA, which has been around for 110 years, could have prevented the behavior that led to the abuse.
How will the bankruptcy filing impact abuse survivors?
Researchers hired by the Scouts have identified more than 12,000 victims and nearly 8,000 suspected abusers from 1944 to 2016. The Chapter 11 filing allows the BSA to reorganize and restructure its finances as claims continue to be filed.
Lawyers for some accusers say the action was also taken to shield billions of dollars of other assets from being used to settle cases. Those properties are held separately by local Boy Scout councils. It’s a strategy that has also been used by some Catholic dioceses in the church’s sexual abuse scandal.