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Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for bankruptcy amid sex abuse lawsuits

BSA bankruptcy and sex abuse lawsuits

On early Tuesday morning, the organization filed the documents at Delaware bankruptcy court. On February 8, the organization completed its 110th anniversary and according to reports, the organization possesses assets of $50,000 and has liabilities between $100 million to $500 million. These days the organization has been in headlines for numerous sexual abuse lawsuits.

You might be wondering what this means for Scouting and why the BSA is taking this step. This doesn’t mean that Scouting will discontinue. It continues. Unit meetings and activities, district and council events and other Scouting adventures and countless service projects will take place as usual. The reason behind this decision of the BSA is that the organization has a responsibility to equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting. BSA also has a duty to carry out its mission for years to come.

According to the financial restructuring under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the organization can function both the activities. This decision of BSA only means that the national organization is going through a financial restructuring.

Local councils are not filing for bankruptcy. Local councils are separate, distinct and financially independent from the national organization. While the word ‘bankruptcy’ can be intimidating, it is important to know that scouting programs will continue. The financial restructuring process is specifically intended to help non-profit organizations like BSA carry out their missions while they work to ensure their long-term financial stability. In this case, the financial restructuring process allows the organization to continue all of the Scouting programs as it addresses the financial pressures on the organization from litigation involving past abuse in Scouting.

You’ll recall that the first goal of our restructuring is to equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time Scouting. We want to be clear: We believe victims, we support them, we pay for ongoing counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward. We have also partnered with 1in6, a trusted national resource for male survivors, to expand their services so that more men who suffered abuse while in Scouting are able to anonymously access vital support from trained advocates when and how they need it.

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The most important part of the restructuring is the proposed establishment of a Victims Compensation Trust for victims of past abuse. According to their disclosure, BSA believes all victims deserve equitable compensation, and, with this proposed Trust, they are taking decisive actions to make this possible. While local councils are not part of the Chapter 11 filing, they will have the opportunity to contribute to the Trust to help equitably compensate victims. BSA will actively encourage all victims to come forward and file a claim to benefit from this Trust.

In spite of bankruptcy, BSA will do what it does. Programming will continue throughout this process. The organization is taking a necessary step by which it will be able to provide employees wages and benefits, keep retirement programs secure, liabilities to vendors, and will operate national high adventure bases. They also clarify that the restricted donations will only be used for their designated purpose. “Restricted donations – made in the past, present or future – can only be used for their designated purpose as stated by the donor.”

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