Court Battles

Boy Scouts release plan to settle with sex-abuse survivors, exit bankruptcy

Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has released a proposal to exit bankruptcy and pay hundreds of millions of dollars to former members who say they were victims of sexual abuse.

The organization proposed to put $220 million into a trust for victims, with local organizations potentially contributing another $300 million, USA Today reported.

The organization's proposal would average about $6,000 per claimant, although the figure assumes every claimant would receive an equal amount, which is not guaranteed.

"There are still many aspects of the Plan that we are refining through ongoing mediation, but the amended Plan is an important step in demonstrating progress that we believe will ultimately lead to a final plan that the Bankruptcy Court will confirm," the BSA said in a statement to The Hill.

 

"In the coming months, supplements to the Plan will include a more detailed breakdown of the process to compensate survivors and more details about how local councils will support this effort.We are hopeful we can come to a resolution that is in the best interest of survivors and all parties and can emerge from Chapter 11 by this fall," the organization added.

The Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy protection last year amid the largest-ever child sex abuse lawsuit filed against a single organization. By the end of last November, survivors had filed nearly 95,000 claims, according to the newspaper.

USA Today analyzed the organization's value at at least $1 billion, however, suggesting the proposed payouts would represent a small part of its assets. The analysis by USA Today concluded the total value of the Boy Scouts of America could be as high as $3.7 billion when counting subsidiaries, trusts and endowments. 

A committee representing the survivors has said the plan is unacceptable, according to USA Today.

"As a fiduciary to all sexual abuse survivors, the TCC has thoroughly investigated the assets and liabilities of the BSA and its local councils," the Torts Claimant Committee said in a statement, "and concluded that the BSA's reorganization plan woefully fails to adequately compensate sexual abuse survivors or provide any enhanced systematic protections for future generations of Scouts."

"We're talking about them trying to get a discount on child abuse, on systematic child abuse that occurred decade after decade after decade," Gill Gayle, an abuse claimant and committee member, told the newspaper. He noted that he has spent nearly three decades in therapy relating to his alleged abuse, which, at up to $150 an hour, the proposal would barely cover.

Paul Mones, who tried a 2010 case against the organization, castigated the organization for what he said was an attempt to broker a deal "that will really not inflict any kind of serious pain on them."

Numerous details of the organization's finances remain unknown and could add wrinkles to any settlement negotiations. For example, it is unknown how much of the BSA's money is held by local councils or how much the organization considers necessary for essential operations, which survivors would not have access to.

Updated: 7:11 p.m.

Outbrain