On Thursday, Delaware Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein approved the Boy Scouts of America’s $2.46 billion reorganization plan to compensate individuals who say organization leaders sexually abused them as children. The plan will simultaneously allow the BSA to continue operating.
The ruling awaits approval from a federal district judge.
The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020 following a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits. At the time, the BSA faced 275 filed lawsuits and was aware of many other potential cases.
Approximately 80,000 men filed claims against the BSA, alleging that they had been abused as children by the organization’s leaders and volunteers.
As part of the reorganization plan, the BSA must establish a fund for survivors, the Associated Press reported. Local councils, insurance companies, and troop sponsoring organizations will also be expected to contribute to the fund. Any future child abuse lawsuits related to the BSA will receive compensation through the fund for survivors, and the groups will be shielded from further litigation.
The amount a victim receives depends on several factors related to the abuse, reported lawyers for some of the survivors.
Attorney Jeff Anderson’s firm represented more than 800 alleged abuse survivors. He reported that most of the $2.46 billion would be paid to the victims, but it would likely take several months before the compensation is dispersed.
“Credit to the courageous survivors that this breakthrough in child and scouting safety has been achieved,” Anderson stated.
The attorney explained that not all of his clients would be receiving compensation. Anderson said his clients felt that in some states, the organization “hid behind the statute of limitations.”
Some of the BSA’s insurers agreed to settlements, while others did not. Attorneys for the insurers thought that the barrage of lawsuits was an indication of fraud. They argued that attorneys had aggressively solicited clients to cash in on claims. The attorneys also argued that distributing compensation through the survivor fund would violate contractual rights to contest the claims.
The BSA reported that some parties have expressed that they plan to appeal the order. The organization hopes the appeal process will “allow survivors to be equitably compensated and preserve the mission of Scouting for future generations.”
“We continue to be enormously grateful to the survivor community, whose bravery, patience, and willingness to share their experiences has been instrumental in the formation of this Plan,” said the BSA.