The Boy Scouts of America was once a proud organization that stood for moral uprightness and training up young men on a solid foundation.
Although the organization has been plagued by advancing leftism and the embrace of the LGBT agenda in more recent years, it is its lengthy practice of harboring pedophiles and sex abusers that has led the organization to file for bankruptcy protection late Monday.
According to The LA Times, the Scouts’ Chapter 11 petition, filed in Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, follows a massive exodus of members from the group and yet another wave of lawsuits from individuals who claim to have suffered sexual abuse during their time in the organization.
The lawsuits were bolstered by new laws passed in several states, including California, New York, and New Jersey, which expand legal options for victims of childhood sex abuse to sue. The laws open a three-year “lookback window” for victims to sue for damages on claims previously barred by statutes of limitation and increase age restrictions on filing claims to age 40 or five years after the victim becomes aware of injury caused by abuse.
The Boy Scouts of America “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, the Scouts’ president and chief executive officer, said in a statement, according to The Times.
“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.
At this time, Scouts officials will not say how many abuse lawsuits have been filed in recent years or how much has been paid out in settlements and judgments. Plaintiffs’ attorneys, however, say that there are easily hundreds of such suits and that many other claims were settled with confidential agreements before lawsuits were filed.
According to the Times, some of the Scouts’ insurers have refused to cover payouts to plaintiffs, arguing that the organization could have prevented the abuse that led to the claims, court records show.
The bankruptcy petition for Boy Scouts of America reports current assets of $1 billion to $10 billion and liabilities of $500 million to $1 billion. A statement from the organization also noted that local Scouts councils are not part of the bankruptcy filing.
The Chapter 11 action will allow the Boy Scouts of America to reorganize and restructure those assets and protect billions more in real estate and other assets held separately by local Boy Scout councils from being drawn from to settle abuse claims.
The bankruptcy petition is also not likely to impact local Scouting activities but it will halt ongoing lawsuits against the organization while settlements are negotiated.
Gilion Dumas, a Portland attorney with over a dozen lawsuits pending against the Scouts in California, told The Times that the pause on litigation will plunge her clients into “legal limbo.” Those who have filed lawsuits will fall into the back of a long line of other creditors, potentially delaying any resolution of their claims for years.
Many of the lawsuits followed The Times’ 2012 publication of internal Scout records involving about 5,000 men on a blacklist known as the “perversion files,” which The Times describes as “a closely guarded trove of documents that details sexual abuse allegations against troop leaders and others dating back a century.”
“Attorney Paul Mones used about 1,200 of the files in a Portland courtroom to win a landmark $19.9-million verdict against the Scouts in 2010 on behalf of a man who was sexually abused as a boy in the 1980s,” The Times adds.
“The biggest takeaway from that trial was that the public saw for the first time that the BSA had this vast knowledge base of sexual abuse that they sat on and did not educate the Scouts or their parents, and kept it from the public,” he said. “The importance of The Times’ release of those files was that people then had the ability to do a search online.”
Over the course of a year, The Times documented hundreds of cases in which the Boy Scouts failed to report accusations to authorities, hid allegations from parents and the public, or urged admitted abusers to resign quietly and helped cover their tracks with fraudulent excuses for their resignations.
Mones says that the Scouts’ statements expressing penitence for its misdeeds count for little to his clients, who once took to heart the Boy Scout oath “to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
“The sadness for them is that the organization didn’t live up to the Boy Scout oath,” Mones said. “That will be the epitaph of this bankruptcy.”
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