Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy protection amid sexual abuse lawsuits

Sexual abuse lawsuits force Boy Scouts of America to file for bankruptcy protection

IRVING, Texas — The Boy Scouts of America said Tuesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the organization faces numerous sexual abuse lawsuits.

In an early morning news release, the organization said it hoped to “equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come.”

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"Tragically, there have been times when individuals took advantage of the BSA’s programs to harm children," the news release said. "The BSA firmly believes that a proposed Victims Compensation Trust structure is the best means of compensating victims in a way that is equitable and protects their identities."

During the process, the organization’s programs, meetings, activities, service projects and other events will continue “for many years to come,” the release said.

“The BSA fully intends to maintain its commitments to its members, families, volunteer leaders, employees, retirees, donors and alumni to the fullest extent permitted by bankruptcy laws,” the organization added.

In a letter to participants’ families, the organization also clarified that local councils have not filed for bankruptcy and “are legally separate, distinct and financially independent.” It also stressed that Boy Scouts of America has ramped up background checks and “developed some of the strongest expert-informed youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization.”

In this Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, photo, a statue stands outside the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas.
In this Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, photo, a statue stands outside the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)