One of the oldest and largest youth organizations in the United States, Boy Scouts of America (BSA), announced that it would file for bankruptcy Tuesday, February 18, as complaints from former scouts for sexual abuse continued accumulate.
The organization, which has 2.2 million members between the ages of 5 and 21, has chosen the safeguard procedure in order to continue its activity and create a compensation fund for victims of sexual abuse, according to a press release published on Tuesday. . The Los Angeles Times reports the document filed with the federal state bankruptcy court in the state of Delaware estimates the organization’s liabilities between $ 100 million and $ 500 million. The BSAs have not indicated how much they intend to spend on the victim compensation fund, which will take the legal form of a trust.
“There was a time when individuals took advantage of BSA programs to harm children”, the organization wrote in the statement. The leaders of the movement consider that the compensation fund, whose creation will have to be validated by a judge, “Is the best way to compensate victims fairly and while preserving their identity”.
7,819 alleged attackers and 12,254 victims between 1944 and 2016
Revelations of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) sexual abuse came to light in 2012. Thousands of pages of documents had been published by the Los Angeles Times showing that the organization of American scouts has covered decades of sexual abuse by thousands of volunteer teachers. There were about 5,000 “Records of perversion”, corresponding to as many alleged sexual assailants among the Boy Scout leaders.
This information had hitherto been kept secret by the BSA leadership, which had often not made any reports to the authorities, regularly confined itself to removing the alleged culprits. At the end of January 2019, during a trial in Minnesota, an expert hired by the BSA to compile these “Records of perversion” reported that it had identified 7,819 suspected assailants and 12,254 victims between 1944 and 2016, more than previously estimated.
Legal actions have multiplied against BSAs in recent years, notably thanks to legislative changes in several states which have lengthened the limitation periods for sexual assaults on minors.