Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is Emily Zanotti.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday morning following "decades" of sexual abuse claims and fears that a class action lawsuit filed by alleged sexual assault victims could leave the organization destitute.
Fox News reports
that the declaration, filed in Delaware where the Boy Scouts are incorporated is designed to halt "the hundreds of lawsuits the BSA is facing that allege sexual misconduct by people within the 110-year-old organization over the years."
Many of the lawsuits are new, but reference decades-old incidents, filed following several states' decision to drop the statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims so that victims could sue not just the Boy Scouts, but several religious organizations, including the Catholic Church.
One class action suit, based in Washington, has more than 300 plaintiffs from 34 states, per Fox.
Instead of enduring trial, the Boy Scouts say they will set up a "Victims Compensation Trust" to "fairly compensate victims harmed during their time in scouting and to keep the 100-year-old nonprofit running for years to come."
"The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children,"
the president of the BSA said in a statement issued to media Tuesday morning. "While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process - with the proposed Trust structure - will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA's important mission."
The trust fund seems like the most logical way to handle a settlement, dividing up the organizations billions in a way that provides restitution to victims but also ensures the Boy Scouts will not fade from existence - something BSA advocates have been fearing for years as interest and, subsequently, membership, has dried up.
"You're talking about thousands of perpetrators,"
one attorney representing the alleged victims told reporters, comparing the class action suit to similar suits against the Catholic Church. "You're talking about tens of thousands of victims. This will be the largest bankruptcy the country has ever seen, and likely one of the largest corporate bankruptcies. It will be far larger in terms of the numbers of victims and far more complicated than any of the bankruptcies we've seen so far involving the Catholic Church."
As part of the settlement plan, NBC News reports, individual lawsuits, filed outside of the class action, will be "halted and transferred to federal bankruptcy court for adjudication" alongside the 300-person class action.
Alongside Tuesday's bankruptcy filing, the BSA has also issued an open apology to victims of sexual abuse
"As a father, a former Scout, and the National Chair of the Boy Scouts of America, I am truly heartbroken that you were harmed during your time in Scouting and that you carry unfathomable pain,"
writes Jim Turley, BSA's national chair. "I am outraged that individuals took advantage of our programs to commit these heinous acts."
"I am also outraged that there were times when volunteers and employees ignored our procedures or forgave transgressions that are unforgivable,"
Turley continues. "In some cases, this led to tragic acts of abuse. While those instances were limited, they mean we didn't do enough to protect the children in our care - to protect you. On behalf of myself and the entire Scouting community: I am sorry. I am devastated that there were times in the past when we failed the very children we were supposed to protect."
The apology will also reportedly run as a full page ad in several national newspapers.
BSA says its scouting programs will continue while the bankruptcy filing moves through court and a trust fund is created. The Chapter 11 filing is also only for the national organization, not independent councils. The lawsuits, though, are far from the only trouble dogging the BSA. Interest in the hundred-year-old organization has waned considerably in recent years, and some major pipelines for BSA membership, like the Mormon Church, have parted ways with the organization amid the BSA's efforts to "modernize" by including female scouts and allowing openly gay scout leaders.