Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Victims Vote on Settlement
Tens of thousands of claimants who allege decades of sexual abuse from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are voting on a nearly $1.9-billion settlement plan, according to coverage in the Los Angeles Times.
Voting to approve the settlement plan, which is part of the BSA’s Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, will commence on December 21, 2021, and close on December 14, 2021, according to a new Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice website. Votes will be tallied, and the presiding judge in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware will assess the plan. Outcomes of these reviews will dictate much of what happens at the scheduled January 24, 2021, hearing.
How the BSA settlement breaks down
The proposed reorganization plan bundles a record-setting sexual abuse settlement fund that dwarfs those stemming from the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. At present, the BSA sex abuse settlement fund consists of $1.8887 billion.Specifically, the plan’s settlement terms draw from the following sources:
- $250 million: Boy Scouts of America
- $600 million: Boy Scouts of America councils
- $787 million: Hartford Financial Services Group (insurance company)
- $250 million: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, severed its long-standing partnership with the BSA in 2020. It had been the largest single sponsor of BSA troops.
The size of the BSA settlement fund continues to grow, according to a BSA statement on AP News. The current amount does not reflect contributions from chartered partners and other BSA insurers, the statement reports. Lawyers are still working to strike a settlement agreement with the group’s other major insurer, Century Indemnity.
Boy Scouts of America forestalled litigation with Chapter 11 filing
In February 2021, BSA filed for relief under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing came on the heels of mounting litigation involving decades of sex abuse in Scouting programs. Strategically, bankruptcy worked to halt lawsuits so that BSA could work on negotiating a global settlement.
A majority of BSA sex abuse victims and the court must approve the reorganization plan. It is questionable whether this will happen, as victims’ representatives describe the proposed settlement as “grossly unfair,” according to AP News’ report.
About the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice
The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice comprises 18,000 BSA sex abuse survivors, as well as 26 law firms that represent more than 60,000 Scouting sex abuse survivors.
The coalition’s purpose is to negotiate on survivors’ behalf, pursue optimal recovery for all survivors, and reduce the time and expense of this effort, according to the plan’s recommendation letter that was sent to claimants.
Abuse survivor lends voice to reorganization board
On October 18, 2021, the coalition announced the appointment of a Boy Scouts sex abuse survivor to the group’s executive board. The move plays a significant role in ensuring that “voices will be heard” when the board makes decisions about the reorganization plan, said Coalition Co-Founder Ken Rothweiler of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. in a press release.