The Boys Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy amid the organization facing over 300 sexual abuse lawsuits from men who say they were assaulted as Scouts.
The organization says it will use the Chapter 11 process to create a trust to provide compensation to victims. "Our decision to file for Chapter 11 is rooted in the values within our Scout Oath and Law. The Boy Scouts of America believes our organization has a social and moral responsibility to equitably compensate all victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting. We also have a duty to carry out our mission for years to come."
Last April, it was reported that the organization believed more than 7,800 of its former leaders were involved in sexually abusing more than 12,000 children over the course of 72 years! Several lawsuits allege that the victims faced repeated fondling, exposure to pornography, and forced anal or oral sex.
Jim Turley, National Chair of the Boy Scouts of America, shared an open letter to victims this week, addressing those who took advantage of their programs to commit these outrageous crimes. " I am outraged that individuals took advantage of our programs to commit these heinous acts."
"I am outraged that there were times when volunteers and employees ignored our procedures or forgave transgressions that are unforgivable. In some cases, this led to tragic acts of abuse. While those instances were limited, they mean we didn't do enough to protect the children in our care -- to protect you."
"On behalf of myself and the entire Scouting community: I am sorry. I am devastated that there were times in the past when we failed the very children we were supposed to protect."
"They won't have to give depositions involving their life history. Their lives won't be scrutinized, but they lose their right to a jury trail. For a lot of abuse survivors, telling their story in a court of law and forcing the organizations to defend their actions can be cathartic. That won't happen with a bankruptcy."
"The fact is that predators harmed innocent children in Scouting programs, and for this, I am deeply sorry, The BSA cannot undo what happened to you, but we are committed to supporting you and to doing everything in our power to prevent it from happening to others. It is a social and moral responsibility that I said the entire organization take extremely seriously."
Chief executive Roger Mosby said in a statement: "The BSA cares deeply about all the victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children." says Roger Mosby, the Boy Scouts' president and chief executive officer
"While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process -- with the proposed Trust structure -- will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA's important mission."
John Manly, an attorney who represents many, if not several victims on the case: "These young boys took an oath, they pledged to be obedient, pledged to support the Scouts and pledged to be honorable. Many of them are extremely angry that that's not what happened to them and the Boy Scouts of America did not step up in the way they should have."
There are listed liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million and estimated assets of $1 billion.