Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Claims
Boy Scouts of America’s Bankruptcy Is Expected to Result in the Settlement of Sex Abuse Claims
Claims Must Be Filed Before November 16, 2020
The Boy Scouts of America promised to provide the tools to allow young people to “grow into their very best future selves.” It promised to teach them to “be prepared” for life by learning survival skills, the value of teamwork, and the importance of responsibility and character. However, for thousands of young people, those lessons were lost when the Boy Scout provided an avenue for children to be exposed to men who would use their position as scoutmasters to prey on them.
For decades, the Boy Scouts of America knew it had a problem. It knew children were being victimized. In fact, there is evidence that the national Boy Scout leadership was not only aware, it even maintained a file called “the perversion files” where it kept detailed accounts of inappropriate behavior and abuse by thousands of scout leaders across the country. The perversion files were so extensive that they included more than 8,000 Scoutmasters and other leaders who had been credibly accused of molestation spanning over fifty years. But, despite the widespread abuse and the knowledge of that abuse by those at the very top of the organization, the Boy Scouts failed to report the behavior to the authorities. It did not warn the parents of the innocent children who would be forever scarred. It did not send the abusers to jail.
In fact, the Boy Scouts took little to no effort to prevent pedophiles from entering the organization. Even when a known abuser had been “blacklisted” by the organization, time and time again they were able to rejoin. All the while, the Boy Scouts concealed the abuse, failed to properly investigate allegations and hid the names of the men who were responsible.
Eventually, as the victims became adults with the power and strength to face the abuse, lawsuits began to be brought against the Boy Scouts. First, there were a handful of cases, then dozens and now thousands of survivors have come forward in an effort to hold the Boy Scouts accountable. In February of this year the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amidst the claims of sexual abuse filed against the organization. It is suspected that the bankruptcy will end in the largest settlement of childhood sexual abuse claims in history. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows the organization to “reorganize” its debts. Under the reorganization, the Boy Scouts will negotiate and pay off much of its debt while still maintaining certain of its assets. This allows the organization to continue to exist. Some of the largest debts that will be negotiated are the lawsuits filed by thousands who allege sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts.
Through the bankruptcy process, the Boy Scouts is planning to establish a victims’ compensation trust that will provide a settlement to the survivors of sexual abuse. The establishment of this trust will effectively end the thousands of lawsuits currently filed against Boy Scouts of America. Rather than a traditional lawsuit, a judge in Delaware will determine the amount of the Boy Scouts’ assets that will need to be used to settle the claims and how the assets will be divided among the plaintiffs.
The bankruptcy court has required that in order to be compensated for a claim, anyone who has experienced sexual victimization or abuse at the hands of the Boy Scouts of America must file a claim before November 16, 2020. This claim can be filed regardless of the survivor’s age or current location. But, if you miss the deadline, your claim may be forever barred.
If you need help filing a proof of claim form against the Boy Scouts of America, please contact us today.
Jenn Liakos is based in our Los Angeles, California office where she has been practicing law for the past twenty years. Her practice focuses on personal injury and mass tort litigation, including pharmaceutical product liability and medical device litigation.
As an experienced litigator, Jenn has predominantly concentrated her practice on injuries affecting women and children. She was at the forefront of the SSRI antidepressant birth defect litigation for more than a decade fighting against big pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Forest Pharmaceuticals. She has also worked on cases involving injuries caused by vaginal mesh and toxic shock syndrome.
Jenn was appointed to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee for the Paxil Birth Defect Litigation and the Zoloft Birth Defect Litigation, prosecuting big pharmaceutical companies for failing to warn that SSRI antidepressants caused birth defects when taken during pregnancy. She has testified before the FDA advisory board on amending the regulations concerning generic manufacturer liability. She has also served on the Plaintiff Steering Committee for the Viagra, Abilify and 3M Litigations.
Jenn is a frequent teacher of deposition skills for the American Association of Justice. She was named as a Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2007 and 2008. She has been selected by her peers as a Super Lawyer every year since 2011. In 2020, she was named a Lawyer of Distinction in the area of Personal Injury Law.