The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection following hundreds of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse within the organization.
The Chapter 11 petition filed in Delaware early Tuesday put a pause on the lawsuits that have plagued the 110-year-old organization for several years. The settlements that have so far been doled out to victims who were sexually abused while in the Scouts have made it difficult for the organization to function without filing for bankruptcy.
BSA said that it made the decision in order to help compensate victims of the abuse and to keep the organization afloat. A Victims Compensation Trust is in the works and will give “equitable compensation to victims,” according to BSA.
“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,” said president and CEO Roger Mosby.
Mosby said that although “nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered,” the Chapter 11 filing along with the “proposed Trust structure” would help those who were abused.
Mike Pfau, a Seattle-based attorney representing hundreds of victims, pointed out that the sheer scale of the bankruptcy was enormous.
“You’re talking about thousands of perpetrators,” Pfau said. “You’re talking about tens of thousands of victims. This will be the largest bankruptcy the country has ever seen, and likely one of the largest corporate bankruptcies.”
The petition listed BSA’s assets as between $1 billion and $10 billion and liabilities between $500 million and $1 billion.