February 24, 2020
By Pamela Foohey
The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy to figure out how to fairly compensate thousands of survivors of alleged sexual abuse who accuse the Scouts of neglecting to protect them.
Revelations regarding decades of the abuse of children and long-running institutional failures to stop the abuse are raising questions about the future of the Boy Scouts and what will become of its troops. The Scouts’ initial bankruptcy documents state that 275 lawsuits are pending in state and federal courts across the country, and that attorneys for survivors estimate another 1,400 claims will be filed. The Scouts disclosed that they have spent $150 million on settlements and legal fees between 2017 and 2019.
I’m a legal scholar who has studied the bankruptcy cases filed by hundreds of nonprofits, including religious ones like Catholic dioceses. Based on what I’ve observed, I anticipate that this step may allow the Boy Scouts to continue operating and to establish an effective way to adjudicate and pay sexual abuse survivors.
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