Articles Posted in child sex abuse

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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.

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In a recent filing in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy proceedings, the organization disclosed information requested by attorneys for child sex abuse victims.

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.

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Former Boy Scouts who filed child sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts are seeking more information about local councils’ role in a proposed settlement.

Later this month the judge in the ongoing Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy proceeding will rule on an request by former Bout Scouts for the organization to disclose information about how much its local councils will contribute to a settlement fund for abuse victims. Continue reading

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An insurance company has agreed to contribute more than half a billion dollars into the Boy Scouts’ trust for victims of child sexual abuse.

The Associated Press reported last week on a new development in the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy proceedings: The Hartford, an insurance company, has said it will pay a sum of $650 million into a settlement trust for child sexual abuse victims who have filed claims against the Boy Scouts. The Hartford will in turn be released “from any obligation under policies it issued to the BSA and the councils dating back to 1971,” according to the AP, which says this plan was filed with a bankruptcy court in Dover, Delaware on Friday, April 16th by mediators working on the bankruptcy proceedings with the Boy Scouts of America, victims of child sexual abuse, and “other parties.”

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The Boy Scouts of America have proposed a new reorganization plan in which local councils would contribute $425 million to a trust for child sexual abuse victims.

The Associated Press reported last week that as part of its bankruptcy process, the Boy Scouts of America has submitted to a court in Dover, Delaware a new reorganization plan “that increases the proposed contribution of local BSA councils to a trust fund for child sexual abuse victims.” The plan also reportedly provides for a route in which local Boy Scouts councils would be excluded from the bankruptcy process, “leaving them to face thousand[s] of individual lawsuits” from victims of child sexual abuse.

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A group representing child sex abuse victims in the Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy proceedings has proposed its own plan for the organization.

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

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Critics told USA Today the Boy Scouts are trying to “force abuse survivors to give up their claims for close to nothing.”

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.

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Critics say the Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy reorganization plan is “woefully and tragically inadequate.”

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.

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More than 95,000 child sexual abuse claims have been filed against the Boy Scouts.

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

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At least four individuals have filed lawsuits against the Archdiocese of New York alleging LaBelle abused them.

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

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