Boy Scouts of America Sexual Abuse Claims
A Delaware bankruptcy judge has approved a November 16, 2020 deadline for former Scouts who were victims of sexual abuse to file claims against the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) Chapter 11 estate. The parties are also working to finalize an order for the court to approve the appointment of a three-mediator panel as they continue negotiating a potential global settlement. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse during your time as a Scout, please know that you are not alone and you have a voice. We are committed to helping you access the information and services you need to obtain the justice you deserve.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is currently facing hundreds of lawsuits from men who allege they were sexually abused by Scout leaders as children, many of which whose cases were previously barred from civil court due to statutes of limitations. Plaintiffs contend that the BSA has been aware of the problem of pedophilia in the ranks of Scout leaders for decades yet kept it secret and therefore failed to protect its Scouts.
Statutes of limitations, which are designed to help defendants, prescribe time limits for which a legal action can be brought after an event occurs. Such limitations often block justice for victims and simultaneously protect the perpetrators and institutions that enabled them – as the majority of child victims do not disclose the abuse until adulthood or never disclose at all. According to Child USA, a national think tank for child protection, the average age of disclosure is 52, while an estimated 25-33% of victims never disclose the abuse (1).
Several states have recently enacted laws making it easier for victims of long-ago abuse to take legal action, including New York, New Jersey, California and the District of Columbia. The BSA has said the organization will explore “all options available” to maintain its program and pay fair compensation to victims who were abused as Scouts (2).
The BSA files for bankruptcy protection
On February 18, 2020, the BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The filing gives the BSA an opportunity to restructure financially to ensure it meets its obligations to creditors, including claims from victims of past abuse.
A day prior to the bankruptcy filing, Jim Turley, National Chair of the BSA, published an open letter to victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting. “As a father, a former scout, and the National Chair of the Boy Scouts of America, I am truly heartbroken that you were harmed during your time in Scouting and that you carry unfathomable pain. I am outraged that individuals took advantage of our programs to commit these heinous acts,” the letter reads.
The letter also outlines some of the steps BSA is taking to support such victims. Turley continues, “I want you to know that we believe you, we believe in compensating you, and we have programs in place to pay for counseling for you and your family by a provider of your choice.”
Specifically, the letter notes that the BSA has initiated a voluntary financial restructuring to ensure compensation for all victims of past abuse 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 the Trust,” Turley urges.
We’re here to help
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse during your time as a Scout, please know that you are not alone and you have a voice. We are committed to helping you access the information and services you need to obtain the justice you deserve. It is important to come forward now if you were abused as a Scout, as the bankruptcy court will set a limited window for claims to be filed. Once this window has passed, survivors of abuse may no longer be able to seek legal action against the BSA.
Fill out the intake form on this page for a free confidential and no-obligation review of your case. We’ll help you determine if you have a claim, navigate the process, and maximize your potential compensation often without ever stepping foot in court. If you do not receive a recovery through a lawsuit or settlement, you don’t owe us anything.