New York Daily News
July 1, 2021
By Stephen Rex Brown
The Boy Scouts of America have reached an agreement that will pay around $850 million to more than 60,000 men who say they were abused as scouts, the Daily News has learned.
The deal, announced late Thursday, is major step toward the embattled youth organization emerging from bankruptcy.
Under the agreement filed in Delaware Bankruptcy Court, the Boy Scouts of America will pay $250 million. Local councils of the Scouts will pay at least $600 million, some of it through the transfer of property.
The deal is the result of months of negotiations between survivor groups, the Boy Scouts of America and more than 250 local councils, which are akin to franchises. Victims will continue to seek money from insurers, former insurers and chartered organizations of the Scouts such as the Catholic and Mormon Churches.
The process of distributing money to victims will begin once the Scouts exit chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
“We have been working tirelessly to deliver the results that the survivors of sexual abuse in Boy Scouts are entitled to, and we will continue to do so. This is an important step but the work continues,” said Adam Slater, a lawyer on the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice, which is involved in the litigation.
“I strongly encourage the many insurance companies and charter organizations to step up and do the right thing for these deserving individuals,” Slater said.
The 111-year-old organization filed for bankruptcy in February 2020 as nearly 90,000 abuse claims piled up. The Scouts emphasize the value of the great outdoors, teamwork and community service.
The majority of the pending claims date back decades. Accusers alleged abuse in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s before the BSA began requiring two adult leaders be present at all scouting activities in 1987. The scandal, along with the coronavirus pandemic and other factors, have caused membership in America’s most well-known youth organization to plummet.
Membership for the BSA’s flagship Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA programs dropped from 1.97 million in 2019 to 1.12 million in 2020, a 43% decline, according to the Associated Press. Court records show membership has fallen further since then, to about 762,000.
“We are devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in Scouting and moved by the bravery of those who have come forward,” the BSA previously said. “We are heartbroken that we cannot undo their pain.”
“I remember there was one campout, and I remember waking up in the tent in the dark and his hands were on me, in my private areas,” an accuser told The News last year, describing abuse while in the Scouts in the early 1990s in Texas.
“I would sit in the dark in a pit of confusion and fear and despair.”
In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America said the agreement represents “substantial progress in our Chapter 11 case” and is part of “our ongoing efforts to reach a global resolution that will equitably compensate survivors and ensure Scouting’s future by resolving past abuse cases for both the national organization and local councils.”
Stephen Rex Brown covers New York courts and criminal justice issues, with a focus on Manhattan Federal Court and Manhattan Supreme Court.