Currently, more than 3,000 men are suing the Boy Scouts of America for allowing pedophiles inside the organization to prey on boys. It’s important for any other victims to take legal action as quickly as possible, as the organization has now filed for bankruptcy.
With news of the bankruptcy bid, it’s important for victims of Boy Scout-related abuse to come forward before the Chapter 11 process is finalized. Failing to do so could risk not fully holding the negligent party accountable for the incidents of abuse that wrongfully occurred.
Allegations Against the Boy Scouts
Files held by the Boy Scouts are estimated to contain the names of 7,819 Scout leaders who allegedly preyed on over 12,000 boys. The files go back to 1944, but currently, only files from 1965 to 1985 have been made public. The organization is keeping the remaining files private. A number of the victims are coming forward with allegations and seeking recovery for what they experienced.
In addition to refraining from informing the public about instances of abuse, the organization also housed a probation program. This put Scout leaders who had been caught sexually abusing Scouts on probation and allowed them to continue scouting. As a result, it’s likely the abuse continued.
Currently, the organization is claiming to be safer than ever before. According to an official statement regarding policy and preventing abuse, “From Mandatory youth protection training and background checks for all volunteers and staff, to policies that prohibit one-on-one interaction between youth and adults and require that any suspected abuse is reported to law enforcement, our volunteers and employees take youth protection extremely seriously and do their part to help keep kids safe.”
It’s estimated there are currently more than 1.26 million Cub members, 830,000 Boy Scouts, and 960,000 adult volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America. Even if it’s true the organization is safer for children, that does not change what abuse victims have been through. That’s why it’s important for those individuals to come forward and take legal action.
Bankruptcy and the Victims Compensation Trust
In the midst of facing mounting legal costs from defending itself against the lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of boy, the Boy Scouts has filed for bankruptcy protection. According to a spokesman from the nonprofit, filing had “two objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come.”
The organization plans to use the Chapter 11 process to create a Victims Compensation Trust to compensate victims. At this time, only the national organization has filed for Chapter 11. All local councils that provide programming are financially independent. Abuse cases filed against the Boy Scouts in state courts will be halted and transferred to federal bankruptcy court for adjudication.
According to Oregon attorney Stephen Crew, filing for bankruptcy does not mean the Boy Scouts is broke. It means that the organization has gotten to the point it’s having difficulty managing the number of claims against it, which is affecting cash flow.
Another attorney, Michael Barasch, who represents hundreds of sex abuse survivors, believes the organization is hiding behind the Bankruptcy Code, instead of recognizing its responsibility to fully compensate survivors. When silence is enforced, it’s likely to exacerbate the suffering of the victims. In light of the bankruptcy announcement, other sexual abuse survivors are starting to come forward with their stories.
The filing of bankruptcy brings about problems for abuse victims looking to take legal action. While the process is typically shorter than going to trial, each individual will lose the opportunity for a jury trial in state court. This benefits the Boy Scouts because information regarding fact patterns of abuse won’t be presented to juries. That’s why it’s important for victims of Boy Scout-related abuse to file their claims before the bankruptcy is finalized.
Helping Victims Come Forward
Coming forward with claims of sexual assault can be one of the most challenging actions an abuse victim takes. In many cases, however, it’s the only way to hold the responsible person or entity accountable for their actions.
At Thomas Law Offices, we believe victims of sexual assault deserve to have their voices heard. While these claims can result in difficult and emotionally taxing trials, it’s often the only way to seek and receive justice.
If you have questions about filing a claim against the Boy Scouts of America or what the bankruptcy action could mean for future claims, contact our lawyers today. We have extensive experience helping clients with abuse cases, and we’re prepared to take yours on. Reach out today for help.