The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has reached a record settlement for $850 million. There are more than 84,000 victims who are claiming they were sexually abused while they were boy scouts. This is the largest child sexual abuse case in the U.S.
The details of the settlement were made public on Thursday with the release of the court documents. Both volunteers and scout leaders since the 1960s are being accused of abuse.
The organization filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2020. This is mainly due to the BSA’s rising legal costs. And anticipating that the settlement would be massive.
“This agreement will help local councils make their contributions to the Trust without an additional drain on their assets, and will allow them to move forward with the national organization toward emergence from bankruptcy,” the Scouts organization statement confirmed on Thursday.
Philadelphia-based attorney Ken Rothweiler, representing 16,800 claimants, is pleased with the settlement. And he also notes that insurance rights for the past 40 years will be held in a trust controlled by the survivor’s group. This could add billions more to be divided amongst the victims.
“I am pleased that both the BSA and their local councils have stepped up to be the first to compensate the survivors,” Rothweiler said in a statement Thursday. “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.”
Rothweiler estimates that most of the abuse took place in the 1960s and the 1970s. Most of Rothweiler’s clients are 60 to 70-years-old. And the abuse occurred when they were teenagers.
Boy Scouts Victims Want to Heal
“As a former Boy Scout who is a sexual abuse survivor, I am gratified that the Boy Scouts are taking responsibility for the sexual abuse that occurred to me and others that we have had to live with for decades,” one victim who is 65 and lives in the New York area said. “This acknowledgment by the Boy Scouts will start the process of healing for many of us who have suffered.”
“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,” the Boy Scouts have said previously. “We are heartbroken that we cannot undo their pain.”
Boy Scouts leadership has insisted that scouting“is safer now than ever before” and 90 percent of the claims against the organization “occurred more than 30 years ago.”
Last year the Scouting Family memo details the steps they have taken to make scouting safer. “From mandatory youth protection training and background checks for all volunteers and staff to policies that prohibit one-on-one interaction between youth and adults and require that any suspected abuse is reported to law enforcement, our volunteers and employees take youth protection extremely seriously and do their part to help keep kids safe.”