The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has reportedly hired a Washington, D.C.-based law firm to help the organization navigate potential Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the organization has hired law firm Sidley Austin to navigate possible Chapter 11 filings, though no official announcement has been made yet.


The Journal points to the organization's recent court defeats, including a $18.5 million payout in 2010 to a Scout who came forward with allegations of sexual abuse dating back to the 1980s, as a key reason for financial troubles in BSA, while the Scouts are also facing declining membership numbers.

In a statement on the Scouts' website, Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh wrote that the group was "working with experts to explore all options" to ensure the Scouts' programs continued "uninterrupted."

"We care deeply about all victims of child sex abuse and we are steadfast in our belief that one incident of child abuse is one too many. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in our programs," Surbaugh wrote.

"To do so in perpetuity, we are working with experts to explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted. We have a social and moral responsibility to fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting, and we also have an obligation to carry out our mission to serve youth, families and local communities through our programs," he continued.

Earlier this year, the organization announced that it would drop "boy" from the name of its scouting program, which will become "Scouts BSA," starting in February 2019 in an effort to boost membership and expand eligibility.

"We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward,” Surbaugh said at the time. “We’re trying to find the right way to say we’re here for both young men and young women.”

The Washington Post reported in May that the organization was involved in several state lawsuits seeking to block legislation that would expose the Scouts to more lawsuits over old allegations of sexual abuse. The organization has faced dozens of lawsuits over similar sex abuse allegations in recent years.

--Updated at 10:03 p.m.