The Boy Scouts of America’s local councils possess a total of roughly $3.3 billion in combined net assets, according to court filings described in a recent report by NBC. The disclosure followed arguments by attorneys representing victims of child sex abuse in the Boy Scouts that without information on the local councils’ assets, they would be unable to evaluate the fairness of a settlement proposed by the Boy Scouts. In a previous filing, the Boy Scouts has stated that local councils “would contribute at least $425 million into a trust for abuse victims and would assign certain insurance rights in return for being released from further liability,” according to NBC.
The report goes on to describe certain “caveats” made in the Boy Scouts’ filing. In a statement, the organization said: ““We want to underscore that local councils are legally separate, distinct, and financially independent from the national organization… Additionally, the data included in these filings is not necessarily indicative of the assets available for contribution to the trust… Local councils are thoughtfully considering how they can meaningfully contribute to the trust and ensure that Scouting can continue its vital mission in their area into the future” The report notes additionally that $1.4 billion of the $3.3 billion in assets “are considered restricted and thus not available to creditors.”
Attorneys representing child sex abuse victims believe there may be as much as $7.1 billion in assets available to be paid out to victims, and value the 82,500 claims at roughly $103 billion. One of the Boy Scouts’ insurance companies, The Hartford, has agreed to contribute $650 million into a trust for child sex abuse victims if it’s released “from any further obligations under policies dating to 1971.” Another one of the organization’s insurance companies, Century Insurance Group, requested in a filing last month that the court delay a hearing.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Century Insurance Group criticized attorneys representing child sex abuse victims “attorneys for aggressive marketing efforts to sign up potential claimants,” arguing that such efforts may have resulted in “invalid” claims. In a statement about this development, the Boy Scouts said, “We are deeply disappointed that Century Insurance Group, the insurer to which national BSA and local councils paid hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of decades, is refusing to contribute its due to the trust or participate in mediation in a meaningful way… Instead of working cooperatively to reach an agreement to compensate survivors, Century appears to be engaging in tactics calculated to slow down the legal process.”
More information about the latest developments in the child sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America is available via the Associated Press.
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