Helping Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse in Scouting Navigate Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
If you were sexually abused by a Scout Leader, Scout Master or other volunteer of the Boy Scouts of America, understanding your rights and options now that the Boy Scouts of America has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is crucial to finding the most direct path to accountability, healing and justice. We have compiled the following information as a basic introduction to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the context of the Boy Scouts. We urge all survivors of sexual abuse in Scouting to consult legal counsel before pursuing legal action.
Boy Scouts of America File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
On February 17, 2020, the Boy Scouts of America announced its filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. On May 26, 2020 the bankruptcy court set a claims bar date marking the deadline by which all survivors of child sexual abuse by a BSA volunteer or employee must formally file a claim with the court: November 16, 2020. After this date, a survivor could be denied any sort of recovery from the Boy Scouts of America.
This complicated and highly nuanced legal tactic is often confusing to people who are not familiar with this type of bankruptcy, and it can prevent survivors of child sexual abuse from pursuing legal action. As demonstrated over the years by Catholic dioceses facing similar circumstances, this option stands to benefit the organization far more than adult survivors who were hurt as children by perpetrators employed by or affiliated with the organization. What is most important for survivors to understand about this process is that they still have rights, but the time to take legal action is limited.
Boy Scouts of America Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Bar Date
All claims must be filed by November 16, 2020. After this date, a survivor could be denied any sort of recovery from the Boy Scouts of America. This complicated and highly nuanced legal tactic is often confusing to people who are not familiar with this type of bankruptcy, and it can prevent survivors of child sexual abuse from pursuing legal action.
If you or someone you love was sexually abused as a child while participating in the Boy Scouts of America by a Scout leader, Scoutmaster, or other authority figure please contact us confidentially today. The attorneys and advocates at Jeff Anderson & Associates have handled numerous Boy Scout child sexual abuse cases, as well as multiple Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases involving institutions responsible for child sexual abuse committed by their personnel.
What Does Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Mean for Scout Abuse Survivors?
The Boy Scouts filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy greatly compresses the timeline for survivors of abuse to file a claim. The bankruptcy judge have set a claims bar date – November 16, 2020 – a date by which all sexual abuse survivors must file what’s called a proof of claim with the bankruptcy court. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse while in Scouts, you have a right to justice and healing. Your claim may also lead to the release of secret Perversion Files that will expose predators and help stop what happened to you from happening to other kids. We have created a searchable database of publicly available Perversion Files here (Chrome or Safari Recommended). Most importantly, your identity throughout the process can remain completely confidential unless you choose to make your identity public. The majority of cases we’ve handled in our 35+ years of working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse have been filed as “John Doe” or “Jane Doe.” The decision to use your name is completely up to you. If you wish, your identity will be kept confidential by your lawyers, the court, and the media.
What Does Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Mean for the Boy Scouts of America?
Simply put, Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection allows the Boy Scouts of America to keep doing “business as usual” while actively settling its debts – the debts here being BSA’s responsibility for sexual abuse claims by Scouts and former Scouts. There are two major factors that make this possible which should be on the radar of anyone considering filing a sexual abuse claim against the Boy Scouts of America: a claims bar date and financial reorganization.
Claims Bar Date: An important part of this process provides that the court set a “claims bar date,” which is a date marking the deadline by which all survivors must formally file a claim with the court. In this case, the claims bar date is November 16, 2020. After this date, a survivor could be denied any sort of recovery from the Boy Scouts of America. This helps the Boy Scouts of America limit the number of claims that can be submitted and makes filing in the future more difficult. In a way, this is a lot like the organization hitting the “Reset” button; giving it a fresh start and leaving survivors yet-to-submit-a-claim left with the burdens of the past and limited means for relief.
Financial Reorganization: This is a technical term for moving money and assets around internally to allow debts amassed by the Claims Bar Date to be more easily paid off without disrupting the flow of business. It is likely that throughout the Chapter 11 process, troops will continue to meet, uniforms will continue to be fabricated, camps will remain open, and general operations will continue undisturbed. In all likelihood, no one currently participating in Scouts will be noticeably impacted by the filing.