STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy. Hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits are now on hold

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, according to a court document filed in Delaware bankruptcy court early Tuesday.The youth organizat...

Posted: Feb 18, 2020 10:26 AM
Updated: Feb 18, 2020 10:30 AM

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, according to a court document filed in Delaware bankruptcy court early Tuesday.

The youth organization, which celebrated its 110th anniversary February 8, listed liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million and estimated assets of $1 billion to $10 billion.

The bankruptcy filing comes at a time when the organization faces hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits, thousands of alleged abuse victims and dwindling membership numbers. As a result of the filing, all civil litigation against the organization is suspended.

Paul Mones, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing 'hundreds of sexual abuse victims in individual lawsuits,' called the organization's bankruptcy filing a 'tragedy.'

'These young boys took an oath. They pledged to be obedient, pledged to support the Scouts and pledged to be honorable. Many of them are extremely angry that that's not what happened to them and the Boy Scouts of America did not step up in the way they should have,' Mones said.

The Boy Scouts of America was fielding several hundred sexual abuse lawsuits

The Boy Scouts of America faced hundreds of lawsuits from alleged sexual abuse victims across the country -- all of which are now suspended because of the bankruptcy filing.

Several of the lawsuits allege repeated fondling, exposure to pornography, and forced anal or oral sex. In response, the Boy Scouts of America said at the time that they 'care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.' They added that they were 'outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our program to abuse innocent children.'

'We believe victims, we support them, we pay for counseling by a provider of their choice and we encourage them to come forward. It is the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) policy that all incidents of suspected abuse are reported to law enforcement,' the organization said.

Last April, exposed court testimony showed the organization believed more than 7,800 of its former leaders were involved in sexually abusing more than 12,000 children over the course of 72 years.

Mones, who was part of a legal team that won a $18.5 million verdict against Boy Scouts of America for former Scout and sexual abuse victim Kerry Lewis in 2010, said Monday that instead of potentially having their day in court, alleged victims who had pending lawsuits will now need to file claims in bankruptcy court.

Michael Pfau, a Seattle-based attorney whose firm represents 300 alleged victims across the country, said the bankruptcy claims process will be decidedly different for those suffering due to the Boy Scouts of America's alleged inaction.

'They won't have to give depositions involving their life history. Their lives won't be scrutinized, but they lose their right to a jury trial. For a lot of abuse survivors, telling their story in a court of law and forcing the organizations to defend their actions can be cathartic. That won't happen with a bankruptcy,' Pfau said.

Mones said in the aftermath of the Lewis case, his law office received hundreds of phone calls from adult males claiming to have been Boy Scouts of America sexual abuse victims, but many states had statutes of limitation that narrowed their legal options at the time. It wasn't until years later, when some state legislators enacted new laws that enabled victims to file lawsuits without limits on when the alleged abuse took place, that a barrage of complaints against the youth organization were filed.

Pfau estimates the number of claimants will eclipse those of the Catholic church.

'The Catholic bankruptcies are limited in geographic scope. Here there will be claimants from all 50 states and the American territories,' Pfau said. 'We can talk about files and numbers, but in reality if you step back and realize the scope of the human carnage, it's stunning.'

New members, a new president, and a new partnership

Reports of a bankruptcy filing swirled as early as December 2018, when The Wall Street Journal reported the Boy Scouts of America ad hired the law firm Sidley Austin LLP for possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing assistance, but no official filing happened until Monday.

In the 14 months since then, the youth organization has allowed children who identify as girls to join the Scouts, a controversial move that was seen by some, including Girl Scouts of the USA President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, as an attempt to raise their diminished enrollment numbers.

In August, the organization referred about 120 allegations of abuse by Scout leaders to law enforcement for further investigation, saying it believes victims and that the youth organization is working to identify 'additional alleged perpetrators.'

The Boy Scouts of America also named a new president, a former Scout himself who pledged to 'move the organization forward.'

Last week, the organization announced a partnership with 1in6, a leading organization for male survivors of sexual abuse, to expand their services and better support the needs of victims.

'We sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed in Scouting,' Boy Scouts of America CEO and President Roger Mosby said in announcing the partnership. 'In addition to implementing strong policies to prevent abuse, we are dedicated to supporting victims when and how they need it.'

For alleged victims, however, the organization's bankruptcy filing may represent another institution that failed to protect them and is avoiding taking responsibility for the abuse that happened under its watch.

'We need to make sure we receive some accountability and if (bankruptcy court) is how we have to do it, then so be it,' Pfau said.

In an open letter to victims, Jim Turley, the national chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, wrote that the organization entered into bankruptcy to make sure it is able to equitably compensate all the victims of abuse.

'The BSA cannot undo what happened to you, but we are committed to supporting you and to doing everything in our power to prevent it from happening to others,' Turley wrote.

The letter goes on to say that 'the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America has initiated a voluntary financial restructuring to ensure we can equitably compensate all victims of past abuse in our programs, through a proposed Victim's Compensation Trust. I encourage you, and all victims to come forward and file claims so you can receive compensation from this Trust. We will provide clear notices about how to do so.'

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Boy Scouts of America's estimated assets.

Lafayette
Clear
26° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 19°
Kokomo
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 11°
Rensselaer
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 21°
Lafayette
Clear
26° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 19°
Danville
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 23°
Frankfort
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 17°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 17°
Monticello
Clear
24° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 18°
Monticello
Clear
24° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 18°
Logansport
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 23°
Patchy freezing fog & frost, then sunshine & warmer!
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

WLFI is promoting fire safety with FREE smoke detectors

 WLFI and several local fire departments are helping with your fire safety this winter. CLICK HERE. 

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 658043

Reported Deaths: 12467
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion902221628
Lake48163871
Allen35614632
Hamilton31884394
St. Joseph29615510
Elkhart25291412
Vanderburgh21148377
Tippecanoe19815197
Johnson16262353
Porter15867268
Hendricks15744297
Clark11860179
Madison11688315
Vigo11520228
Monroe10267158
Delaware9800178
LaPorte9725194
Howard9024194
Kosciusko8519107
Bartholomew7394147
Warrick7380147
Hancock7379128
Floyd7149165
Wayne6597189
Grant6406157
Morgan6044124
Boone604188
Dubois5876111
Dearborn541266
Henry539892
Marshall5397104
Cass538999
Noble507575
Jackson462663
Shelby458890
Lawrence4161111
Gibson400581
Harrison395960
Clinton393353
DeKalb382878
Montgomery382883
Miami355163
Knox354484
Whitley347235
Huntington339276
Steuben336355
Wabash329575
Putnam326559
Ripley325261
Adams320749
Jasper313643
White295651
Jefferson293270
Daviess284496
Fayette270555
Decatur269688
Greene260278
Posey260031
Wells256074
Scott248947
LaGrange240270
Clay239444
Randolph225076
Spencer216130
Jennings214044
Washington208727
Sullivan202239
Fountain200641
Starke186450
Owen181652
Fulton177437
Jay177328
Carroll175718
Perry172635
Orange170450
Rush164222
Vermillion159040
Franklin158435
Tipton145641
Parke138415
Pike127232
Blackford120327
Pulaski106243
Newton96431
Brown94839
Benton91213
Crawford90113
Martin80014
Switzerland7527
Warren74712
Union66810
Ohio52811
Unassigned0428

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events