The bankruptBoy Scouts of America organization faces an unprecedented 82,000 sex-abuse claims as the iconic group navigates complex battles over its insurance policies and network of money and property, according to a victims’ attorney.
“These are innocent boys who were full of life and hope and they were abused in some of the most disgusting ways I’ve ever seen,” said attorney Christopher Hurley ofHurley McKenna and Mertz, who represents about 4,000 victims. “There’s a price that now has got to be paid for what happened to these people.”
The Scoutsfiled for bankruptcy in February to cope with a rising number of sex-abuse claims. Monday is the last day for victims to file claims as part of the group’s Chapter 11 case.
“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. We are heartbroken that we cannot undo their pain,” the group said in an emailed statement. After the claims deadline, the national organization will develop a reorganization plan to fund a trust for victims.
The Scouts havefought in court with insurers, which in the past have argued they shouldn’t have to pay claims related to abuse that could have been prevented. Insurance companies have made multiple objections in the bankruptcy case.
“The Scouts don’t have the assets to fairly pay these survivors and their insurance companies are going to have to pay,” said Hurley. “The insurance companies are trying to avoid that.”
The bankruptcy case has also involved arguments over what assets are included in the Scouts’ estate, and therefore available for victim settlements. Lawyers representing abuse victims have moved to subpoena the Scouts and their network of local councils to determine what cash and property could be considered for a settlement plan.
On awebsite about its bankruptcy, the organization says it has a social and moral responsibility to equitably compensate all victims who were abused during their time in the program.
The case is Boy Scouts of America, 20-10343, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. To view the docket on Bloomberg Law, clickhere.
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