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.
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
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.”
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.
A recently filed lawsuit alleges that Howard Hubbard, a retired Catholic bishop in Albany, molested “an 11-year-old boy at a carnival more than 40 years ago,” according to the New York Post, which notes that this is the seventh lawsuit alleging that the former clergyman committed abuse.
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.
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
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