Boy Scouts files for bankruptcy to put sex-abuse lawsuits on hold

Clay Curtis
February 18, 2020

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection as it faces a barrage of new sex-abuse lawsuits.

The longstanding organization, which was founded in 1910 and has had more than 130 million youth members, filed the bankruptcy documents in federal court in DE around 1 a.m. Tuesday.

California's law, AB 218, took effect in January and, among other provisions, opens a three-year "lookback window" for victims to sue for damages on claims previously barred by statutes of limitation.

Paul Mones, who represents hundreds of men who claim they were abused as scouts, told Reuters: "The bankruptcy is being filed as a result of decades of concealing abuse by the Boy Scouts and their adult leaders".

The move by the Boy Scouts was expected, as the organization became inundated with lawsuits in recent years. The move by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came shortly after the Boy Scouts said it would drop "boy" from its program for older youths and after saying it would admit transgender scouts. The organization said the filing was made in an effort to establish a victims' compensations trust for the members of the youth group who made the allegations, which date back multiple decades. "BSA noted that local scouting councils are legally separate, distinct, and financially independent from the national organization", and will not be directly affected by the bankruptcy reorganization.

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The Boy Scouts, based in Irving, Texas, has said that it sincerely apologizes to anyone harmed, that it believes the accusers and that it encourages victims to come forward.

The BSA requires no proof; a victim need only make a request.

Among other matters to be addressed in bankruptcy court: the fate of the Boy Scouts' assets; the extent to which the organization's insurance will help cover compensation; and whether assets of the Scouts' 261 local councils will be added to the fund.

James Kretschmer of Houston, among the many men suing for alleged abuse, said he was molested by a Scout leader over several months in the mid-1970s in the Spokane, Washington, area.

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