Faced with the weight of some 300 lawsuits involving all 50 states and several U.S. territories, the BSA filed Chapter 11
By filing for bankruptcy, the BSA can put those lawsuits on the back burner for the time being. Ultimately they could be forced into selling off some of their vast holdings to cover mounting liabilities.
“Two key objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come. The BSA intends to use the Chapter 11 process to create a Victims Compensation Trust that would provide equitable compensation to victims.”
– BSA Spokesman
The BSA’s victims compensation fund could exceed $1 billion. According to Reuters, the national organization had about $1.5 billion in assets in 2018. Their most recent tax filing showed revenue in excess of $285 million. The $1.5 billion and $285 million is just for the national organization. Their local councils and other affiliated nonprofits separately hold more than $3 billion in assets. Victims may attempt to bring those into play.
“Scouting programs will continue throughout this process and for many years to come. Local councils are not filing for bankruptcy because they are legally separate and distinct organizations.”
– Evan Roberts, a spokesman for the Scouts
Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts aren’t an isolated organization when it comes to sexual abuse. They’re just the latest in recent years. Roman Catholic dioceses across the country and universities such as Michigan State and Penn State have paid out $100’s of millions.
“It will be far larger in terms of the numbers of victims and far more complicated than any of the bankruptcies we’ve seen so far involving the Catholic church. Those bankruptcies involved individual dioceses or archdioceses. This involves victims from all 50 states and several U.S. territories. You’re looking at thousands of abuse survivors making claims. This is much bigger than the bankruptcy filings involving the Catholic church.”
– Michael Pfau, attorney representing close to 300 victims
“The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children. While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process – with the proposed Trust structure – will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA’s important mission.”
– Roger Mosby, BSA’s president and chief executive officer