The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has agreed to settle with more than 60,000 men who alleged they were sexually abused by adults within the organization over a period of decades.
The $850 million settlement is the largest sum ever reached in a child sex abuse case in United States history, and could potentially quantify to billions more when the insurance rights for the last 40 years are added into a trust that will be controlled by the survivor’s group.
“I am pleased that both the BSA and their local councils have stepped up to be the first to compensate the survivors,” said Ken Rothweiler, an attorney who represents over 16,800 claimants in the suit. “We will now negotiate with the insurers and sponsoring and chartering organizations who have billions of dollars in legal exposure, of which a substantial portion is necessary to fairly compensate the survivors.”
In a statement, the Boy Scouts said that the settlement was a significant step towards their “ongoing efforts to reach a global resolution that will equitably compensate survivors and ensure Scouting’s future by resolving past abuse cases for both the national organization and local councils.”
The organization filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020 due to mounting legal costs from a laundry list of lawsuits, but the BSA has over a billion dollars in assets, including land, artwork, holdings, and financial investments.
“This agreement ensures that we have the overwhelming support of survivors for the BSA’s proposed Plan of Reorganization, which is a key step in the BSA’s path toward emerging from bankruptcy,” the statement read.
“Bringing these groups together marks a significant milestone and is the biggest step forward to date as the BSA works toward our dual imperatives of equitably compensating survivors of abuse and preserving the mission of Scouting.”
The organization claims that scouting is “safer now than ever before,” and that the majority of abuse claims occurred more than 30 years ago.
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