Boy Scouts of America Considers Filing for Bankruptcy as Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Continue: Report
The Boy Scouts of America may file for bankruptcy.
On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the organization is considering filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy and that the Boy Scouts group has hired the Sidley Austin law firm as it deliberates.
A Sidley Austin representative did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment, but in a letter provided to PEOPLE, chief Scouts executive Michael B. Surbaugh addressed the group’s “financial position.”
“We have an important duty, and an incredible opportunity, to focus as an organization on keeping children safe, supported and protected, and preparing youth for their futures through our nation’s foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training,” Surbaugh said.
“To do so in perpetuity,” he continued, “we are working with experts to explore all options available to ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scout of America continues uninterrupted.”
The news follows years of allegations of sexual abuse within the organization. The Boy Scouts group has paid millions of dollars to law firms as it contends with the legal aftermath of the abuse allegations, The Wall Street Journal reported. Bankruptcy would halt the lawsuits and allow the organization to negotiate with plaintiffs.
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Surbaugh discussed the abuse scandal in his letter. “We care deeply about all victims of child sex abuse and we are steadfast in our belief that one incident of child abuse is one too many,” he said. “We sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in our programs.”
“As you all know, we have always taken care of victims — we believe them, we believe in fairly compensating them and we have paid for unlimited counseling, by a provider of their choice, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since an instance of abuse,” Surbaugh continued. “Throughout our history we have taken proactive steps to help victims heal and prevent future abuse.”
“I want to stress that at no time in our history have we knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth, and we always seek to act swiftly when alerted to abuse allegations,” he added.
The Boy Scouts organization has also been in the news in recent years for its announcement in January 2017 that transgender children who identify as boys could be Boy Scouts and its decision in October 2017 to include girls in the program.
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