The Associated Press reported last week that as part of its bankruptcy process, the Boy Scouts of America has submitted to a court in Dover, Delaware a new reorganization plan “that increases the proposed contribution of local BSA councils to a trust fund for child sexual abuse victims.” The plan also reportedly provides for a route in which local Boy Scouts councils would be excluded from the bankruptcy process, “leaving them to face thousand[s] of individual lawsuits” from victims of child sexual abuse.
The new plan would replace one in which the Boy Scouts would settle tens of thousands of child sexual abuse claims with, in part, $300 million provided by local Boy Scouts councils and $115 million provided by the national organization, as well as the assignment of insurance policies for the national organization and local councils. Under that plan, the Boy Scouts, its local councils, and sponsoring organizations such as churches “would be released from local liability.” Under the newly proposed plan, local councils would provide $425 million to the victims trust; the national organization’s contribution would not change.
According to the Associated Press, if the victims of child sexual abuse reject the new plan, the Boy Scouts would then “turn to an alternative BSA-only plan” in which the victims trust would receive funding “only by the Boy Scouts” and “only for claims made against the national organization, not local councils.” There would be no contribution from local councils or sponsoring organizations, which in turn would not receive any liability shield.
The report states that more than 80,000 child sexual abuse claims have been filed against the Boy Scouts, as well as “hundreds of abuse lawsuits” against the national organization and local councils, which are stalled as the organization goes through the bankruptcy process. The Boy Scouts of America has indicated that there would be $2.4 billion to $7.5 billion “available for abuse victims… including insurance rights,” with the exact number to be determined by which reorganization plan is selected.
Attorneys representing victims of child sexual abuse against the Boy Scouts have criticized the new reorganization plan, the AP reports. They have valued the 84,000 child sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts “at about $103 billion” and argue that the Boy Scouts’ estimates “seriously downplay the liability exposure of insurers.” In a statement to the AP, one attorney said “the plan is not satisfactory to us, but we continue to work toward one that will treat people fairly.”
More information on the Boy Scouts of America’s newly proposed reorganization plan is available via the Associated Press.