Jul 31, 2022 - News

Boy Scouts sex abuse ruling leaves questions about settlement

A statue of a Boy Scout with his hat in his hands

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge approved parts of the Boy Scouts of America's reorganization plan — which includes a multibillion-dollar settlement with sex abuse victims — but also rejected key parts of the bankruptcy plan, noting that the organization has "decisions to make."

Driving the news: In a 281-page ruling released Friday, Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein found that the Irving-based Boy Scouts' liability for abuse claims is likely between $2.4 billion and $3.6 billion, and approved settlements for initial funding of nearly $2.3 billion to survivors.

Why it matters: This is the largest sex abuse lawsuit in history, involving more than 80,000 survivors and an American institution once considered virtuous and wholesome.

  • Attorneys representing a large number of claimants in the case say this ruling will help protect future scouts.

Yes, but: The judge wrote that she couldn't approve a $250 million settlement between the Boy Scouts and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which was the largest sponsor of troops — and could not make determinations related to the Boy Scouts' insurance coverage.

Catch up quick: Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2020, after several states changed laws that allowed victims to sue over decades-old allegations.

  • Earlier this year, more than 50,000 survivors voted on the proposed settlement.
  • Claimants could receive as little as $3,500 or up to $2.7 million for the most severe cases, according to Reuters.

By the numbers: More than $1.6 billion of the proposed settlement would come from insurance companies.

  • Local BSA councils, which run day-to-day operations for troops, would contribute at least $515 million in cash and property.
  • The Mormon Church would contribute $250 million and the United Methodist Church, which also sponsored several troops would contribute $30 million.
  • The BSA itself would contribute less than 10% of the proposed settlement fund, putting up property valued at about $80 million, an $80 million promissory note and roughly $20 million cash.

Meanwhile, The BSA has spent more than $327 million in fees and expenses in the bankruptcy, per the AP.

What they're saying: "We are committed to working with all constituents to make the necessary changes required by the ruling to drive this process forward," the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement.

The other side: "Throughout this case, what we've heard time and again from survivors is that it's not only about the money, because no amount of money in the world will make up for being sexually abused as a child," the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice said in a statement. "The most important thing to them has been ensuring the safety of current and future scouts."


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