Strapped by hundreds of lawsuits by individuals who claim they were sexually molested as youngsters by scoutmasters or leaders, the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced in February it filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Court set a deadline of Nov. 16 for filing claims of sexual abuse that took place on or before Feb. 18, 2020. Anyone who does not meet the deadline will be barred from filing a lawsuit against the national organization in the future.
Survivors must file a proof-of-claim form at www.OfficialBSAClaims.com and provide basic details of the abuse by anyone involved with the Boy Scouts, including Scout leaders and assistant leaders, camp employees, volunteers, or other Scouts. Individuals who experienced other forms of abuse — including physical, emotional, bullying, or hazing — must file a different claim on the website.
The BSA faces about 275 lawsuits in state and federal court alleging sexual abuse, and as many as 1,400 other claims that have yet to be filed. According to BSA filings, more than 12,000 boys claim to have been molested by 7,800 abusers in the past 100 years. Yet, the organization didn’t adopt mandatory criminal background checks and provide abuse-prevention training for all staff and volunteers until the 1980s. Since news of the impending deadline, numerous former Scouts have come forward claiming to be victims of sexual abuse while with the organization.
The declining membership, financial strain from litigation, and the possibility of more lawsuits forced the BSA to seek chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As part of the bankruptcy agreements, the organization was required to run a $7 million multimedia awareness campaign encouraging victims of sexual abuse while in the Boy Scouts to file claims.
The BSA released a statement saying it was “committed to compensating victims through its restructuring.” The Scout’s proposed reorganization exempts local councils from any liability in sexual abuse claims filed against the national organization.
Sexual Abuse litigation
Sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape and sex trafficking are catastrophic acts that wound those who are victimized for a lifetime. This conduct is so atrocious that Survivors not only have to overcome physical injuries, they are also left to suffer from substantial psychological and emotional injuries. Survivors often need to seek therapy to overcome the traumatic experience associated with sexual abuse and routinely incur lost wages or loss support associated with their terrible ordeal. The perpetrators of this type of conduct can be arrested and prosecuted with criminal charges, however, criminal proceedings do not award financial damages to victims. Fortunately, in many instances, Survivors may also be able to file civil claims to recover significant financial compensation as damages. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape, or sex trafficking, we can help. Contact our lawyers, Lance Gould or Larry Golston, for a free consultation.