Organization to create a victims’ fund that will settle sexual assault lawsuits
Amid allegations of sexual assault in the organization, the Boy Scouts of America (Boy Scouts) national organization has filed for bankruptcy. The organization has elected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which is available to organizations that wish to redistribute their assets.
Also known as “reorganization bankruptcy,” Chapter 11 bankruptcy will allow the Boy Scouts to take funds from other areas in order to create a compensation fund that will aid in settling the sexual assault cases that are still pending.
Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts have around 2.3 million members ranging from the ages of 5-21. Initially only allowing male members in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts programs, Boy Scouts began allowing female members in February 2019.
However, according to the Boy Scouts bankruptcy website, bsarestructuring.org, local area councils will not be affected. In an interview with WLWT, Scout Executive Andrew Zahn of the local Dan Beard Council, explained the difference between the national organization and local chapters.
“(The Dan Beard Council is) an independent organization of the national Boy Scouts of America. We are not considering bankruptcy.”
Zahn also stated that the organization has been making efforts to create a safe environment for all members and added that approximately 90% of the national sexual assault allegations are from before the 1980’s.
“We all agree one victim of child abuse is one too many. It’s outraging to me as a parent and as an Eagle Scout,” Zahn said.
While local chapters seem hopeful that the organization will improve moving forward, some attorneys involved in the legal proceedings are taking a negative stance regarding the Boy Scouts’ decision to declare bankruptcy. “It is essentially a ‘get out of jail free card’ for business. It will really shield and potentially help the pedophiles be more secretive,” attorney Charlie Rittgers said in a separate interview with WLWT.
The law firm that Rittgers works for is based in Warren County, Ohio, and is involved in one of the sexual assault cases against the Boy Scouts.
Due to how long ago many of these incidents occurred, some states have begun working to increase the statute of limitations for such cases.
This would allow new allegations to come forward, even after the standard time period for them to present their case, which varies by state, has expired.
Moving forward, the national organization of the Boy Scouts states on its restructuring website that it will create a trust fund through the Chapter 11 redistribution process.
This will allow possible victims in the future to come forward to submit their cases for review and request compensation.