May 18, 2020
By Randall Chase
Attorneys have agreed on a November deadline for victims of child sex abuse to file claims in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case.
The Nov. 16 date presented to a judge Monday was worked out after attorneys for the official committee representing abuse victims objected to a proposed Oct. 6 deadline and argued that victims should have at least until Dec. 31.
“At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed and preoccupied with basic survival, sexual abuse survivors need and are entitled to a reasonable period of time after they receive notice from the bankruptcy Court to reflect seriously and make a decision whether to file a claim in this case,” attorneys for the victims committee wrote in a court filing.
After filing for bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts initially proposed a deadline of 80 days after notice of the claims process was published, drawing immediate opposition from attorneys for abuse victims. The Boy Scouts later proposed the October deadline. They argued that it allowed more time than in many Catholic diocese bankruptcy cases, and that it provided sufficient time to conduct a nationwide program of print, television, radio and online notices and allow claimants to submit claim forms.
Jessica Boelter, an attorney for the Boy Scouts, said the notification program is expected to reach more than 100 million people, including more than 95% of the primary target audience of men 50 and older. An expert for the Boy Scouts estimated that men in that age group account for more than half of former Boy Scouts and at least 71% of abuse survivors with pending claims against the BSA.
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