Boy Scouts of America Reaches $850m Settlement over Sexual Abuse Claims
Largest sexual abuse settlement in U.S. history
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has reached a settlement with some 60,000 people to the sum of $850 million over historic sexual abuse claims.
The payout is the single largest sexual abuse settlement in U.S. history in terms of reported numbers, lawyers say.
The BSA issued an apology to victims and filed for bankruptcy last year as it buckled under the mounting lawsuits.
Attorneys for the BSA filed court papers that highlighted restructuring support agreements with attorneys representing abuse victims.
AP reported that the agreement includes attorneys representing local Boy Scouts councils and lawyers appointed to represent victims who might file future claims.
“After months of intensive negotiations, the debtors have reached a resolution with every single official and major creditor constituency in these Chapter 11 cases,” BSA attorneys wrote.
But the settlement may face opposition from Boy Scouts of America insurers who would be paying out millions of dollars.
Local BSA councils are expected to contribute $600m towards the settlement fund, according to AP.
A handful of insurers for BSA accused the organization of excluding them from negotiations.
The insurers said in a statement:
“With only the fox guarding the hen-house, the outcome is utterly at odds with what BSA itself asserted was necessary for a confirmable (bankruptcy) plan."
Mike Pfau, an attorney whose firm was representing 300 victims in New York as of last April, said the bankruptcy would be "bigger in scale than any other sex abuse bankruptcy."
“You’re talking about thousands of perpetrators," Seattle-based lawyer Michael Pfau, who has represented over 300 Boy Scout victims in 34 states, told the New York Daily News.
As Neon Nettle reported at the time, the BSA's sinking membership numbers coincided with various controversies surrounding the organization, including the decision to change its name from Boy Scouts to the more "gender natural" Scouts BSA in a bid to encourage girls and transgender people to sign up as members.
BSA revealed that the name change was scheduled to come into effect in February 2019, yet membership figures show that one week after they announced the switch on May 2, 2018, 425,000 boys rescinded their membership.