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Boy Scouts Plans Abuse Survivors’ Fund in Attempt to Exit Bankruptcy

boy scouts, eagle scout pinPhoto credit: Amy Kerkemeyer
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On Monday, the Boy Scouts of America proposed a plan to settle nearly 90,000 sexual abuse claims as a way for the organization to return from bankruptcy. Legal representatives of survivors have dismissed it as ‘woefully insufficient.’

In a statement this week, the Boy Scouts called the $300 million settlement plan “a critical step to our emergence from bankruptcy.” Lawyers for people who filed abuse claims denounced the organization’s offer, as it’s part of an initial attempt to return from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in February 2020.

Furthermore, part of the organization’s settlement money would come from valuable artwork. It holds several prized Norman Rockwell paintings and a couple of pieces by Walt Disney. But Michael Pfau, an attorney for about 1,000 people who filed abuse claims, has another view of the settlement plan.

“It’s clearly them trying to ramp up a plan where they literally feel no pain and move beyond this quickly, leaving the abuse survivors in the dust,” Pfau said, according to the Washington Post. “It’s such a fraction of the assets that they’re able to pay.”

He pointed out the organization’s four high-adventure camp properties, which the Boy Scouts organization left out of its bankruptcy plan. Those are located in New Mexico, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Florida.

An Attempted Return

Under the Boy Scouts plan, a settlement trust built from the cash and assets of the Boy Scouts would assess abuse claims and distribute payments. Reportedly included in these assets are the aforementioned Norman Rockwell paintings and Walt Disney sketches, as well as oil and gas holdings and roughly $75 million in cash.

The organization had initially prepared for about 12,000 sexual abuse claims. However, nearly seven times that number were filed, with abuse allegations dating back to the 1940s. The first legal repercussions came after a 2010 abuse case in Oregon revealed files of “unfit volunteers,“ which showed the organization had tracked abusers but not reported them to law enforcement.

In November, a judge-imposed deadline for further claims passed. The Boy Scouts of America has indicated it needs to reach a settlement by this summer to avoid running out of operating funds.

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