Almost 90,000 sexual abuse claims were filed against the Boy Scouts of America in advance of a filing deadline last month. The claims, made in connection with the organizations bankruptcy proceedings, will be vetted, with an undetermined number to be settled from a compensation fund established during the bankruptcy process. Although that deadline has passed, claimants in New York can still file sexual abuse claims against local Boy Scouts of America councils, due to state law extending the period in which survivors of sexual abuse can file lawsuits.
According to a report by Spectrum News, as of a few hours before the filing deadline in November, 85,000 claims had been filed against the Boy Scouts. The majority of them reportedly concerned alleged conduct from the 1960s to the 1980s, “before the Boy Scouts adopted criminal background checks, abuse prevention training for all staff and volunteers, and a rule that two or more adult leaders must be present during activities.” The Boy Scouts of America is 110 years old and its membership has reportedly declined to below 2 million people from more than 4 million people in the 1970s, according to Spectrum. It’s also already paid out considerable settlements in sex abuses cases, and in August launched a “nationwide advertising campaign” to encourage victims to file their claims.
While the bankruptcy case itself does not allow for additional claims to be filed, people in states like New York can still file claims against local Boy Scouts councils. Settlements will be paid by a compensation fund paid of a yet to be determined size. According to Spectrum: “The national organization is expected to contribute a substantial portion of its assets, which include financial investments and real estate. The Boy Scouts’ insurers also will be contributing, as will the Boy Scouts’ roughly 260 local councils and companies that insured them in the past.”
One attorney dealing with sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts told Spectrum that the size of the settlements will vary according to “the severity and duration of the abuse.” One of the parties in the lawsuit, a group of survivors called the Torts Claimants Committee, said in a statement that “More sexual abuse claims will be filed in the Boy Scouts bankruptcy than all claims filed against the Catholic Church throughout the nation.”
For more information about the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy proceedings, read Spectrum’s report here.
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