Boy Scouts Local Councils May Give Millions to Child Sex Abuse Settlements


Western New York Boy Scouts councils may have to sell their properties to contribute to a settlement fund for child sex abuse victims.

Of the approximately 82,500 child sex abuse claims filed against the Boy Scouts of America during its bankruptcy proceedings, almost 400 concern abuse that allegedly took place in New York, according to a recent report by the Buffalo News. There have also been 60 lawsuits filed in western New York, under the Child Victims Act, accusing “at least 38 former Scout volunteers” of child sex abuse.

One claimant is Scott Miller of Hamburg, New York. According to the Buffalo News, Miller has filed an abuse claim in the Boy Scouts bankruptcy proceeding as well as a lawsuit in Erie County, levying allegations against the  national Boy Scouts organization, the United Methodist Church, and the Greater Niagara Frontier Council. Miller told the Buffalo News that he’s disappointed with the current settlement proposal under the lates Boy Scouts reorganization plan, which would settle child sex abuse claims with $120 million in funds from the national organization, $425 million in funds from local Boy Scout councils, and “at least $625 million” from the Boy Scouts’ insurers.

According to Miller, this proposal “only adds salt to the wounds… They just keep trying to manipulate a way to stay viable, and their viability is more important to them than all the lives that were destroyed.” The Buffalo News report cites an estimate that the child sex abuse claims would cost “$2.4 billion to $7.1 billion” if litigated, and attorneys representing claimants believe they may be worth as high as $100 billion. Some attorneys argue that Boy Scouts local councils should be contributing more money to the settlements, and that current accountings of their assets in the bankruptcy proceedings are too low, in some cases because they rely on valuations of properties that have increased in value since they were first acquired by the Boy Scouts.

Local Boy Scouts councils in western New York currently do not know how much they will be expected to provide to child sex abuse settlements, or even whether they will be asked to provide, according to the Buffalo News. “If all councils paid in at the same amount under the current proposal, they each would owe about $1.7 million,” the report states, but it’s likely that some councils will pay more than others, because some states have passed “look back” extending the statutes of limitation for lawsuits, where other states have not passed such laws.

More information on the child sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts in western New York is available via the Buffalo News.

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