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Boy Scout Abuse Claims: FAQs

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BSA Abuse FAQsRead answers to important FAQs about boy scout abuse claims.

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The Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States with approximately 2.3 million Boy Scout members. However, like most youth organizations, sex abuse has been an issue for decades. According to a 1991 study by The Washington Times entitled “Scouts Honor,” 1,151 Scouts reported abuse from 1971 – 1990. The number of Boy Scout sexual abuse claims is staggering and the stories are tragic. In response to the escalating number of lawsuits claiming abuse, the BSA filed for bankruptcy in Delaware. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy protected the organization from financial uncertainty by creating a trust to provide compensation for abuse victims.

The United States Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware set a deadline for victims to file a claim against the Boy Scouts. The deadline of 5:00 PM eastern on November 16, 2020 has come and passed.

In our FAQs, we’ve answered the following questions:

  1. Can I still file a claim against the Boy Scouts?
  2. How much will the abuse victims be compensated from a Boy Scout lawsuit settlement?
  3. What is the voting process for the settlement?
  4. How long will the process take?
  5. Will the case be over once a plan is confirmed by the Boy Scouts and the Court?
  6. Can I file against other entities?
  7. What qualifies as sexual abuse?
Boy Scouts Claim Infographic

It is too late to file a claim against the Boy Scouts of America in the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy case.

 

Can I still file a claim against the Boy Scouts of America?

The Boy Scouts of America, one of the largest and most known youth organizations in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020. Through the bankruptcy process, a trust will be set up to compensate the victims of sex abuse that occurred over decades of the BSA’s existence.

The United States Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware set a deadline for victims to file a claim against the Boy Scouts. The deadline of 5:00 PM eastern on November 16, 2020 has come and passed.

In simple terms, it is too late to file a claim against the Boy Scouts of America in the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy case. Though you could hire local counsel in Delaware and petition the Court for some type of exemption, one would be hard pressed to think of a good enough explanation for filing a claim after the deadline given the publicity this case has enjoyed.

 

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How much will the abuse victims be compensated from a Boy Scout lawsuit settlement?

This is an ongoing matter with no definitive answer. Right now, the Tort Claimants’ Committee and the Boy Scouts are litigating about the disclosure of the BSA’s assets and financial statements. There is much discussion about how much money will be set aside for sex abuse survivors that involves complex legal issues. Even if a proposed plan is offered, the plan will still need to be met with creditor approval.

 

What is the voting process for the settlement?

If you filed a claim by yourself, you provided the BSA and its agents an address. You will be mailed documents to vote on the plan. If you hired attorneys, the paperwork should go to your attorney, but you and your attorney should consult on how you will like to vote. While every vote counts, it should be noted that the Torts Claimants’ Committee controls a big bloc of votes. Even if you vote to approve the plan, if the Torts Claimants’ Committee votes against it, it is likely the plan will not be approved.

 

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How long will the process take?

There is no specific timetable on when to expect compensation. Though the Boy Scout of America’s disclosure statement and proposed plan are being negotiated, there are other issues being discussed that might delay distribution of funds to victims. Examples of these issues may be whether or not insurance coverage applies, and if so, how much of the policy applies; what Boy Scout assets or properties can be used; whether or not the proposed settlement will extend to release local councils of the Boy Scouts of America; and whether or not there is any indemnity or contribution between the national organization Boy Scouts of America, its local councils, and local troops.

 

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Will the case be over once a plan is confirmed by the Boy Scouts and the Court?

Not exactly. A confirmation of a proposed settlement plan will not automatically trigger a distribution of funds to creditors and abuse victims. This is because there are still financial issues from insurance carriers and other parties to be decided. The proposed plan will just confirm that the BSA is putting in some of its money, assets, and/or property into a trust for its creditors.

There will also be a period of time where there the BSA attempts to value each of the approximate 84,000 claims. Valuing a claim will depend on what is available in funds, the different types of abuse claimed, and your individual set of facts. Simply put, there is no firm timetable on when a claimant should expect their rightful share of distribution. In order to fully maximize the value of your claim, it will take time to force each insurance carrier, sponsoring organization and/or local council to contribute their fair share to attempt to make the victims of the sexual abuse whole.

 

Can I file against other entities?

Yes, you can. As of now, the bankruptcy filing does not affect your rights to pursue claims against local councils, sponsoring organizations, and the abuser individually (if known). However, your rights to seek compensation and justice against organizations or individuals other than the BSA itself is subject to the applicable state’s statute of limitations. Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer near you about the details of your case.

The applicability of the statute of limitations will depend on how old you were when it happened, and most importantly, where it happened. While some states do not have a statute of limitations for child abuse, other states do. Additionally, some states are enacting legislation to revive barred or expired abuse cases if the victims were minors. Some of these states have extended their deadlines as follows:

Arizona: December 31, 2020

Washington, D.C.: May 3, 2021

North Carolina: July 22, 2021

New York: August 14, 2021

New Jersey: November 30, 2021

California: October 13, 2022

 

What qualifies as sexual abuse?

According to the sexual abuse claim form, sexual abuse has been defined as:

Conduct or misconduct, sexual abuse or molestation, sexual exploitation, sexual touching, sexualized interaction, sexual comments about a person’s body, or other verbal or non-verbal behaviors that facilitated, contributed to, or led up to abuse, regardless of whether or not such behavior was itself sexual or against the law, and regardless of whether the child thought the behavior was sexual abuse at the time.

Sexual abuse includes behavior between a child and an adult and between a child and another child, in each instance without regard to whether such activity involved explicit force, whether such activity involved genital or other physical contact, and whether the child associated the abuse with any physical, psychological, or emotional harm.

Sexual abuse involves behaviors including penetration or fondling of the child’s body, other body-on-body contact, or non-contact, behaviors such as observing or making images of a child’s naked body, showing or making pornography, or having children behave in sexual behavior as a group.

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