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US Retracing the Boy Scouts' Path to Bankruptcy

15:40  24 february  2020
15:40  24 february  2020 Source:   online.wsj.com

Boy Scouts bankruptcy filing expected within hours, victims' lawyers say

  Boy Scouts bankruptcy filing expected within hours, victims' lawyers say The Boy Scouts of America, after decades of being crippled by child sex abuse claims, plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by early Tuesday, the New York Daily News has learned. Two lawyers who individually have represented hundreds of victims confirmed to the Daily News that the 110-year-old organization could be filing papers in Delaware federal bankruptcy court as early as midnight. As the embattled Boy Scouts begin the long process of restructuring debt, any pending sex abuse claim against the organization will be put on hold, lawyers said.

Lawsuits. Possible bankruptcy . Declining numbers. Is there a future for the Boy Scouts ? Asked about the path forward for the organization, given the threats it is facing, the Boy Scouts of America pointed to studies showing that Scouting “helps young people become more kind, helpful and

Scouting also teaches us how to read and develop a moral compass, grounded in values and principles that are universal to the American experience. Difficult though the path may look at the moment, the Boy Scouts of America was following its compass last week by filing for bankruptcy .

a painting of a person © Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The Boy Scouts of America were dogged by sex-abuse claims for more than 50 years before it implemented key child-safety policies in the late 1980s.

Now, after more than a dozen states changed their statute-of-limitations laws in 2019 to allow lawsuits based on decades-old allegations, hundreds of men are coming forward to say they were abused decades ago.

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The approximately 275 resulting suits caused the Boy Scouts to file for bankruptcy protection last week, halting all current cases. The youth group said it plans to set up a fund through the bankruptcy process to compensate victims.

Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy due to sex-abuse lawsuits

  Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy due to sex-abuse lawsuits Barraged by hundreds of sex-abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday in hopes of working out a potentially mammoth victim compensation plan that will allow the hallowed, 110-year-old organization to carry on. © AP Photo/LM Otero Shown is the Boys Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero) The Chapter 11 filing in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware, sets in motion what could be one of the biggest, most complex bankruptcies ever seen.

The Boy Scouts of America said on Tuesday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid a flood of lawsuits over allegations of child sexual The bankruptcy is not expected to affect the organization’s programs, which promote self-reliance through outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

Looming over the Boy Scouts are lawsuits that threaten to tarnish its image, reports of a potential bankruptcy and a struggle to define what it means to be a Scout today. Asked about the path forward for the organization, given the threats it is facing, the Boy Scouts of America pointed to

In contrast to the plight of the Catholic Church, which has wrestled with well-publicized claims of sex abuse for decades, the Boy Scouts avoided widespread attention until rather recently. Largely shielding the organization were the nation’s patchwork of statute-of-limitations laws, ineligible volunteer files that were kept confidential and a general unwillingness among young boys to bring forward their accounts of abuse.

Public awareness grew with a 2010 case in Oregon in which a jury awarded a man who was sexually abused in the early 1980s with nearly $20 million. The Oregon Supreme Court also ordered the youth organization to release nearly 1,250 confidential files of alleged abusers, bringing more attention to abuse claims in the Boy Scouts.

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The Boy Scouts held talks in recent months with some victims’ lawyers, aimed at finding a way to settle all the claims, but no agreement was reached. Under bankruptcy protection, the Boy Scouts could ask a judge to approve a compensation plan. The national organization said in its filing that it had assets

The Boy Scouts of America is considering filing for bankruptcy in part because insurance companies are balking at paying settlements to almost a dozen men who claim they were sexually abused as boys by a notorious scoutmaster. Since August, the venerable organization has been battling insurers INA

Paul Mones, part of a legal team that sued the Boy Scouts in the Oregon case and now represents other alleged victims, said the organization was very successful in fighting litigation up until 2010, settling some cases and winning others. The Boy Scouts is facing bankruptcy now because it failed to fully confront the sex abuse sooner, he said.

“[The Boy Scouts] knew about the problem. They knew the extent of the problem. They knew the frequency of the problem. They knew how the problem occurred,” Mr. Mones said.

Lawyers for the Boy Scouts said in court papers for the bankruptcy case that the organization recognizes it failed to protect youth participants in the past. “Sometimes predators used the BSA organization to gain access to children, and volunteers or employees of the BSA or Local Councils did not effectively act on allegations and transgressions as the BSA would have wanted them to and as the organization’s policies mandate today,” they said.

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Boy Scouts - BSAverified_user. boyscouts . The national organization of the BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to equitably compensate The Boy Scouts filing for bankruptcy is a result of #MeToo crossing gender boundaries with male survivors telling their stories and holding these

Boy Scouts - BSAverified_user. boyscouts . The national organization of the BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to equitably compensate The Boy Scouts filing for bankruptcy is a result of #MeToo crossing gender boundaries with male survivors telling their stories and holding these

The Boy Scouts said it continually works to improve its child-protection policies.

“Our youth protection policies are in line with—and sometimes even ahead of—society’s knowledge of abuse and best practices for prevention,” the organization said in a statement.

Allegations of sexual misconduct have hounded the scouts since soon after its inception.

The scouts created what it called a “red flag list” about a decade after the youth group’s founding in 1910, according to the organization. By 1935, the list included nearly 900 men it considered to be “degenerates” who were barred from the group, according to the organization.

A researcher hired by the Boy Scouts disclosed last year in a court case that the group had 7,819 ineligible volunteer files. The files covered 1946 to 2016, according to a report included in the bankruptcy case filings. The records are incomplete, however, because the Boy Scouts previously had a policy to destroy an ineligible volunteer’s file when he turned 75 or died, according to the report in the filings.

Despite the documented history of sex-abuse allegations, the cornerstone of the Boy Scouts’ child-safety policy, called two-deep leadership, was implemented in 1987. It mandates that two people over the age of 21 must be present at all Scouting activities, and it forbids one-on-one contact between adults and children.

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The Boy Scouts began requiring leaders to report all reasonable suspicions of child abuse to law enforcement or child-protective services in 2010. In many of the older incidents referenced in the ineligible volunteer files, the organization failed to notify law-enforcement.

In 2003, the Boy Scouts began conducting criminal-background checks for all new adult volunteers, and in 2008 required them for all adult volunteers.

In recent years, prompted partly by action from alleged victims of abuse by Catholic priests, childhood sex-abuse victims have shown increasing willingness to come forward. The shift in the statute-of-limitations laws opened the door for suits against the Boy Scouts. The organization said it expects at least another 1,400 claims to be filed.

About 90% of the pending claims are from incidents that occurred over 30 years ago, before the Boy Scouts modernized its child-safety policies, according to the group.

David Walsh, 54 years old, sued the Boy Scouts for abuse by a scout leader he says took place in Texas in the late 1970s. He didn’t tell his parents or anyone else about the alleged abuse at the time, but four other families accused the same man of sex abuse, and he left the organization in 1979, according to the Boy Scouts’ ineligible volunteer file. He tried and failed to rejoin the Boy Scouts about a decade later, according to his file.

Mr. Walsh said he tried to ignore his abuse and described it as “something I kind of stuck in a box in my brain.” But he recently told his family and started seeing a therapist.

David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, served on the youth-protection advisory board of the Boy Scouts during the 1990s and 2000s. He said the Boy Scouts spent a lot of time and money developing child-safety resources during the early 1990s, exceeding the efforts of other youth groups, he said.

“I think it is great they enacted some policies,” said Mike Pfau, an attorney representing over 300 clients who say they were sexually abused in the Boy Scouts. “However, they were too little and too late, especially given the fact they had so much knowledge of pedophiles infiltrating the Scouts going back almost 100 years.”

Write to Joseph De Avila at joseph.deavila@wsj.com

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