One of the nation's oldest and largest youth organizations, the Boy Scouts of America, filed for bankruptcy protections late Monday night amid a slew of new sex-abuse lawsuits from former Scouts who claim they were abused while participating in the organization's activities.
The Chapter 11 petition was filed by the nonprofit in Bankruptcy Court in Delaware as the BSA prepares to defend itself against lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of dozens of former Scouts.
A statement from the BSA said only the national organization filed for Chapter 11, as local councils and troops remain financially independent from the larger organization.
“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, President and Chief Executive Officer said in a statement.
“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," said Mosby.
The bankruptcy protection filing lists BSA's assets as zero to $50,000 and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million. The number of lawsuits filed against the Scouts or the amount of money paid out to settle claims and judgments was not released.
The bankruptcy is not likely to affect local troop activities, but it will suspend and transfer any ongoing lawsuits against the BSA while settlements are negotiated by the court. New abuse claims will also be required to be handled in that venue instead of local state courts. The U.S. Trustees Office will now name a creditors committee, that will include a number of abuse victims. The committee will be responsible for hiring a bankruptcy law firm to represent the interests of creditors in any negotiations with the Scouts.
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