NEW YORK — The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Facing mounting legal costs from defending itself against lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of boys, the venerable nonprofit sought Chapter 11 protection in a court filing early Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that the filing had “two key objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come. The BSA intends to use the Chapter 11 process to create a Victims Compensation Trust that would provide equitable compensation to victims.”
The Boy Scouts said that only the national organization had filed for Chapter 11 and that local councils that provide programming and other services are financially independent.
“The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children,” Roger Mosby, BSA’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement Tuesday.
“While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process — with the proposed Trust structure — will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA’s important mission,” he said.
Michael Pfau, whose Seattle-based law firm, Pfau, Cochran, Veretis and Amala, represents close to 300 people who say they were abused as Scouts in 30-plus states, called the filing historic.
“It will be far larger in terms of the numbers of victims and far more complicated than any of the bankruptcies we’ve seen so far involving the Catholic Church,” Pfau said.
Those bankruptcies involved individual dioceses or archdioceses, Pfau said, while “this involves victims from all 50 states and several U.S. territories.”
“You’re looking at thousands of abuse survivors making claims,” he said. “This is much bigger than the bankruptcy filings involving the Catholic Church.”
In December 2018, the BSA telegraphed that it might seek this remedy when it hired the law firm Sidley Austin LLP and announced that it was “working with experts to explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted.”
Source: NBC News