Last week the Boy Scouts of America filed a document proposing a reorganization plan as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, the Associated Press reported. The filing “envisions continued operations of its local troops and national adventure camps,” according to the report, but does not entirely address how the organization will address “tens of thousands of sexual abuse claims” filed against the organization by people who allege that they were abused when they were Boy Scouts.
The reorganization plan proposes the allocation of $300 million from the organization’s local councils, of which there are about 250, “into a trust for abuse victims,” though it reportedly does not specify “the form and timing of those contributions.” According to the Associated Press, the organization will also allocate into the fund “any unrestricted cash above the $75 million” it says it requires for operational purposes. The organization will additionally “contribute its collection of Norman Rockwell paintings to the fund,” sell a North Carolina warehouse, a “Scouting University facility,” and “rights to oil and gas interests on properties in 17 states” to raise money for the fund.
In a statement about the proposal, the organization reportedly said: “The plan demonstrates that considerable progress has been made as we continue to work with all parties toward achieving our strategy to provide equitable compensation for victims and address our other financial obligations so that we can continue to serve youth for years to come… In the coming months, supplements to the plan will include a more detailed breakdown of the process to compensate survivors and more details about how local councils will support this effort.”
Critics of the reorganization plan say it doesn’t provide for the adequate compensation of abuse victims. An attorney who represents “hundreds of former Scouts” who allege they were abused in the organization described the proposal as “woefully and tragically inadequate,” saying that the organization is “not willing to dig deep enough for the deep pain they caused.” He further accused the organization of trying to evade the financial burden of compensating victims: “They are shifting the responsibility to the insurance companies, creating a situation for the survivors to engage in obviously protracted litigation to obtain the just compensation they deserve,” he said.
Attorneys for the Boy Scouts’ insurers, meanwhile, are seeking permission to “serve document requests on 1,400 people who have filed sexual abuse claims and to question scores of them under oath” in order to uncover any possible fraud in the thousands of claims against the organization. One attorney for the organization’s insurers said in a statement that while his client believes abuse victims deserve justice, “The court needs to first implement a process to root out the bad claims generated by for-profit claims aggregators and misleading advertising campaigns.” The Delaware bankruptcy court has not yet issued a ruling on the insurers’ request to question claimants.
More information about the Boy Scouts of America’s reorganization plan and the criticism it received from advocates for abuse victims is available via the Associated Press.