WILMINGTON, Del. — The Boy Scouts of America stated on Tuesday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid a flood of lawsuits over allegations of baby sexual abuse stretching again many years.
The bankruptcy shouldn’t be anticipated to have an effect on the group’s programs, which promote self-reliance by out of doors actions corresponding to climbing and tenting. The group was already fighting declining membership and controversy over admitting homosexual and feminine members.
The Boy Scouts, based mostly in Irving, Texas, has stated that it sincerely apologizes to anybody harmed, that it believes the accusers and that it encourages victims to return ahead.
Based in 1910, the group has been overwhelmed by tons of of claims after a number of states, together with New York, eliminated authorized hurdles that had barred individuals from suing over outdated allegations of baby intercourse abuse.
The changes to the regulation coincided with the #MeToo motion and a shift in public opinion that has been more supportive of accusers. The result has been a wave of lawsuits towards church leaders, medical doctors and colleges, in addition to scouting.
The Boy Scouts has stated in an announcement that “we are able to dwell as much as our social and ethical duty to pretty compensate victims” whereas “additionally making certain that we supply out our mission to serve youth, households and native communities by our programs.”
Paul Mones, who represents tons of of men who declare they have been abused as scouts, advised Reuters: “The bankruptcy is being filed as a result of many years of concealing abuse by the Boy Scouts and their grownup leaders.”
The bankruptcy, filed in Delaware, will permit the Boy Scouts to deliver all of the lawsuits into one court docket and attempt to negotiate a settlement, slightly than utilizing the group’s funds to struggle every case in court docket, which could go away some victims with nothing.
An analogous bankruptcy technique to resolve intercourse abuse lawsuits has been utilized by more than 20 Catholic dioceses and USA Gymnastics.
It might, nonetheless, be difficult to find out the worth of the Boy Scouts’ belongings. The nationwide group stated in its most up-to-date annual report from 2018 that it had $1.5 billion. However tons of of native councils have their very own belongings, and victims could attempt to make these accessible for settling claims.
Membership in the group’s Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts fell 13 per cent on the finish of 2018 from the top of 2012, in accordance with its annual report.
The Boy Scouts misplaced a significant supply of assist when the Mormon church stated it could not sponsor scouting troops, starting in 2020. The transfer by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints got here shortly after the Boy Scouts stated it could drop “boy” from its program for older youths and after saying it could admit transgender scouts.
The church stated its decision was not influenced by the Boy Scouts’ changes, however by a need to focus by itself youth programs.
© Thomson Reuters 2020