In a new development in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy proceedings in Dover, Delaware, the committee representing child sex abuse victims has sought the court’s permission to “file its own reorganization plan” for the Boy Scouts. The Tort Claimants Committee argued in a motion filed last week that the reorganization plan proposed by the Boy Scouts “falls woefully short of fairly compensating abuse victims while shielding local Boy Scouts councils and sponsoring organizations from liability,” according to the Associated Press. Continue reading
A recent article by USA Today reports that in early March, the Boy Scouts of America proposed to contribute $220 million into a trust that would “compensate tens of thousands of former members who say they were abused during their time as scouts,” a sum that may be complemented by a contribution of $300 million from the organization’s local councils. This total of $520 million—pending a commitment from local councils—would constitute a “fraction” of the Boy Scouts of America’s total value, which USA Today estimates at about $3.7 billion.
Last week the Boy Scouts of America filed a document proposing a reorganization plan as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, the Associated Press reported. The filing “envisions continued operations of its local troops and national adventure camps,” according to the report, but does not entirely address how the organization will address “tens of thousands of sexual abuse claims” filed against the organization by people who allege that they were abused when they were Boy Scouts.
The reorganization plan proposes the allocation of $300 million from the organization’s local councils, of which there are about 250, “into a trust for abuse victims,” though it reportedly does not specify “the form and timing of those contributions.” According to the Associated Press, the organization will also allocate into the fund “any unrestricted cash above the $75 million” it says it requires for operational purposes. The organization will additionally “contribute its collection of Norman Rockwell paintings to the fund,” sell a North Carolina warehouse, a “Scouting University facility,” and “rights to oil and gas interests on properties in 17 states” to raise money for the fund.
The Boy Scouts of America have asked the judge overseeing its bankruptcy process to prolong an injunction stopping plaintiffs from filing sexual abuse claims against local Boy Scouts councils and organizations, the Associated Press reported last week.
As it currently stands, the injunction on sex abuse claims against Boy Scouts local councils expires on March 19, 2021. The Boy Scouts has requested that the injunction be extended until July 19, 2021. The organization’s attorneys argue that if the injunction is extended, this will help the organizations’ restructuring efforts, and allow local councils to contribute to a settlement fund for sexual abuse claims against them. They also argue that if the bankruptcy court lifts the injunction and permits new sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts, this will make it “make it difficult, if not impossible, for the BSA to both equitably compensate abuse survivors” and perform other charitable activities, according to the Associated Press. Continue reading
A lawsuit recently filed in Staten Island alleges that former priest Ralph LaBelle sexually abused a boy after providing him with beer and hockey tickets, according to the Staten Island Advance. The lawsuit, one of several alleging that LaBelle molested parishioners, also names the Archdiocese of New York and St. Clare’s Roman Catholic Church in Great Kills, Staten Island.
According to the lawsuit, LaBelle’s abuse began in or around 1987, when the plaintiff was 11 years old, and continued roughly “a dozen times” over a period of two years, per the AP, which cites the complaint’s allegations: “LaBelle was a sexual predator and was engaged in a sexually inappropriate relationship with plaintiff… LaBelle was a trusted authority figure within the church and community … [and] took advantage of the status and credibility afforded him by St. Clare’s and the Archdiocese of New York and exploited his position to gain plaintiff’s trust and abuse him.” The lawsuit goes on to allege that the Archdiocese of New York “took no steps” to stop LaBelle’s actions. Continue reading
Eight lawsuits have been filed against local Boy Scouts of America councils in Arizona, alleging that scout leaders “sexually abused children dating back decades,” according to a report by the Associated Press. The lawsuits about decades-old allegations are possible thanks to a state law implemented last year that allows victims of child sexual abuse to sue their alleged abusers “and any churches, youth groups or other institutions that turned a blind eye to the abuse” until their 30th birthday.
An attorney representing claimants in the eight Arizona lawsuits told the Associated Press that he expected “to file four more in the state” by the end of 2020. He alleged that the Boy Scouts of America “systematically failed to keep sexual predators who were Scout leaders from preying on children.” Another attorney told the Associated Press that he expected his organization, Abuse In Scouting, would file as many as 300 lawsuits against Arizona by the end of the year. Continue reading
A lawsuit filed last month by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, as well as three bishops associated with the Diocese, participated in the coverup of child sex abuse by its priests. According to the New York Times, the lawsuit represents the state’s first legal action against the Catholic Church since it launched a series of investigations into allegations of abuse in 2018.
The lawsuit alleges that the Diocese “and its two former top leaders… used bureaucratic maneuvers to shelter more than two dozen priests accused of harming children.” The bishop’s names are Richard J. Malone and Edward M. Grosz. In a statement released in connection to the lawsuit, the Attorney General said, “For years, the Diocese of Buffalo and its leadership failed to protect children from sexual abuse… Instead, they chose to protect the very priests who were credibly accused of these atrocious acts. Individuals who are victims of abuse deserve to have their claims justly and timely investigated and determined, and the Buffalo Diocese refused to give them that chance.” Continue reading
On August 14, 2019, a New York state law took effect allowing adult survivors of child sex abuse to file lawsuits against their alleged abuser despite an expired statute of limitations. This look-back window was extended by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing victims an additional year to file such claims. Survivors of child sex abuse now have until January 14, 2021 to file their claims.
Prior to the passage of the look-back window law, New York citizens could either file a civil lawsuit or bring criminal charges against their alleged abusers until they were 23 years old. As an advocate who helped shape the new legislation told NPR last year, the look-back law “raises the age for criminal charges to age 28 and the age at which someone can bring a lawsuit until age 55.”Asked why it took so long for the law to get passed, the advocate, Ariel Zwang, attributed the delay to “powerful and entrenched interests” who have protected abusers, including “religious institutions” like the Catholic Church and “youth-serving organizations” like the Boy Scouts of America. Continue reading
A recent report by the New York Times details some of the sex abuse claims filed against the Boy Scouts of America. As part of the organization’s bankruptcy proceedings, the organization has encouraged victims of sexual abuse to file claims against it, and will settle an undetermined amount of these claims via a compensation fund of an undetermined size. More than 80,000 claims were filed by a November deadline, though survivors in states like New York may yet be able to file claims against local chapters of the Boy Scouts.
The claims that have been filed so far involve alleged conduct in ever state, as well as alleged cases in military bases overseas, such as in Japan and Germany. According to theTimes, “the accusers range in age from 8 to 93,” and while a majority of men, some claimants are women. As the Times explains, the Boy Scouts of America was established in 1910 and received a congressional charter in 1916. It is currently attempting to reorganize through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While it had around 5 million members in the 1970s, it currently has about 2.2 million members. Continue reading
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. Continue reading