Monday marks deadline for sex-abuse claims in Boy Scouts bankruptcy case
Monday marks the deadline for survivors of abuse to file claims against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in a federal bankruptcy case the national organization and tens of thousands of men have already done so, The Seattle Times reports.
The surge of abuse claims that have already inundated attorneys in the case have revealed the hidden horrors of pedophilia occurring in scouting programs were taking place at a level more widespread than previously known, some claimants lawyers said.
The bankruptcy case now endangers the national BSA’s very existence and throws into question whether hundreds of US scouting councils can survive unscathed.
The Irving, Texas-based scouting group, a nonprofit corporation that acts as the national charter organization under which more than 270 local scouting councils operate, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February announcing that it intended to create a Victims Compensation Trust to “provide equitable compensation to victims.”
The bankruptcy filing also attempted to help the BSA survive “to continue carrying out its mission for years to come,” the organization said.
Known as a “bar date,” Monday’s deadline was set by a federal bankruptcy court in Delaware and will allow any survivor of Boy Scouts sexual abuse to file a claim against the national scouting organization until 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
If a prospective claimant misses the deadline, they face losing the right to seek compensation against the national group in the future.
Some abuse victims could still separately file lawsuits in state courts against local scouting councils, as well as the churches, schools or other groups that sponsored them, attorneys say. But varying statutes of limitation in U.S. states and territories, and the uncertainty of the bankruptcy’s outcome, complicate the issue, the Seattle Times reports.
Already, the number of claims filed in the bankruptcy case to date, conservatively estimated at more than 50,000.
According to Tim Kosnoff, a Seattle lawyer whose team represents thousands of BSA claimants nationwide, this makes it by far the largest legal reckoning for sex abuse in the nation’s history.
“It’s the biggest sexual-abuse case by an order of magnitude, anywhere ever,” Kosnoff told the Seattle Times. “It’s bigger than all of the Catholic Church cases combined, by a longshot.”
Neither the national BSA nor its lawyers would say last week exactly how many claims have been filed to date.
By the time the deadline passes, Kosnoff estimated 60,000 to 80,000 claims could be filed. Even with the conservative guess of 50,000 claimants, the BSA faces billions of dollars of liability, he said.
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