In a historical bankruptcy that might transform the future of one of the country's largest and oldest youth groups, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) might be facing as many as 92,700 sexual assault lawsuits, attorneys stated Monday amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the filing came to an end.
The attorneys of the plaintiffs claim that the number of lawsuits and the overall payments to resolve them would quickly surpass those from the sexual harassment controversy that more than a decade ago shook the U.S. Catholic Church.
In 2010, Los Angeles lawyer Paul Mones, who received a $20 million Scouts ruling and handled a few hundred defendants in bankruptcy, stated that "This is a staggering number of cases, even beyond what I thought was out there." He also added that "The scope of this is something I could never have contemplated."
In February, the 110-year-old Boy Scouts of America applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy insurance as it met a surge of new sex assault litigation when multiple states extended legal protections for childhood victims to prosecute, including California, New York, and New Jersey.
Abused in scouting
Andrew Van Arsdale, a lawyer with a channel named Abused in Scouting, has some 16,000 plaintiffs that have been signed up by his organization.
"The BSA was very effective at getting out the message to the men who suffered as children in their care," Arsdal mentioned. "The question remains if the BSA will make good on their word to make the tens of thousands of lives they altered better. The BSA failed them once as children; we hope they do not do it again this time around," he added.
Scouts said on Monday, all allegations will be audited by "third-party advisors" as the government body is preparing a restructuring strategy as well as setting up its compensation fund, pledging to operate "as expeditiously as possible."
"They spent millions trying to encourage people to come forward," Arsdale stated. "Now, the question is whether they can make good on their commitment."
Underneath the oversight of a bankruptcy judge, he had also stated that the figures multiplied after Boy Scouts began a national advertisement campaign on August 31 to remind victims that they had only until November 16 to claim the compensation.
Mones, who earned a $19.9 million sex harassment ruling towards the Boy Scouts in Oregon in 2010, stated that a detailed process lies ahead to evaluate the insurers over the years wherein abuse took place was liable for insurance by the national association as well as the local councils.
He added that any settlements are likely to be different based on the intensity and extent of the violence.
"The number of claims is mind-boggling," he stated, indicating that victims of violence may not have come forward. "It's chilling in terms of the amount of horror that was experienced," he added.
Mones also said that any of the accusations could be difficult to check if they include complaints of wrongdoing against volunteer Scoutmasters whose identities have not been included in official rosters for a long time.
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