The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, and will reportedly do so to stave off more sexual abuse lawsuits and spend its resources more effectively in the meantime. More than 150 lawsuits have been filed against the organization since the opening of a 2015 internal investigation into the scandal — called “Blueprint for Change” — which revealed extensive evidence of abuses and revealed a shocking lack of vigilance from leaders about reporting abuse to the appropriate authorities. Lawsuits are currently pending against 21 BSA regional councils across the country.
The collapse of the organization comes on the heels of a massive sex abuse scandal in recent months, in which numerous individuals were charged with and have pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct, including the apparent one-time “chief scoutmaster” in West Virginia, John McCain. The controversy began with an internal investigation into instances of sexual abuse and allegations of cover-ups within the organization. The investigation, over the course of several years, led to the uncovering of several incidents of decades-old abuse, in addition to broader allegations of systemic abuse and a lack of protections for victims.
The group’s president, Randall Stephenson, wrote that the filing, as an emergency measure, “eliminates significant uncollectable debt” and allows the organization to move “toward strengthening our organization.”” ... we can do better and we will do better. Our programming will improve and serve more youth. …We will be stronger and better off,” he said.
According to the New York Times, the organization claims that financial losses related to internal investigations into abuse has already cost it between $46 million and $80 million.
The scandal, which first came to light in 2015, involved allegations of abuse against more than 200 individuals around the country, as well as from five Boy Scout councils in the New York City area. Last year, New York state Attorney General Barbara Underwood issued a report which found that nearly 50 Boy Scout leaders had in some way been involved in misconduct with young scouts, including sending nude photos of boys and involved in inappropriate touching.
Along with a compensation for victims who are currently engaged in lawsuits against the organization, the bankruptcy will allow the organization to “spend its resources more effectively,” according to attorneys for the Boy Scouts, in an attempt to prevent such scandals from happening again.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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