Barraged by hundreds of sex-abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday in hopes of working out a potentially mammoth victim compensation plan that will allow the 110-year-old organization to carry on.
The Chapter 11 filing in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware, sets in motion what could be one of the biggest, most complex bankruptcies ever seen. Scores of lawyers are seeking settlements on behalf of several thousand men who say they were molested as scouts by scoutmasters or other leaders decades ago but are only now eligible to sue because of recent changes in their states’ statute-of-limitations laws.
By going to bankruptcy court, the Scouts can put those lawsuits on hold for now. But ultimately they could be forced to sell off some of their vast property holdings, including campgrounds and hiking trails, to raise money for a compensation trust fund that could surpass a billion dollars.
The bankruptcy petition listed the Boy Scouts' assets as between $1 billion and $10 billion, and its liabilities at $500 million to $1 billion.
With files from the Associated Press
Nathan Bomey, reporter at USA Today and co-author of an investigative piece looking at the allegations of sexual abuse against the Boy Scouts and the bankuptcy declaration of the organization; he tweets @NathanBomey