The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy last week while facing hundreds of sexual abuse cases, which led to an untold number of lawsuits and claims for damages. BSA’s insurance company declined to pay for settlements, claiming the organization had been aware of the allegations and had not informed the insurance company.
BSA is the largest scouting and youth organization in the United States with 2.3 million participants and about one million adult volunteers.
Due to the bankruptcy filing, all civil litigation against the organization has been suspended leaving any form of justice for the alleged victims of sexual abuse in limbo.
In an interview with CNN, Paul Mones, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing hundreds of child victims in individual lawsuits, said that BSA filing for bankruptcy could be likened to atragedy.
“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,” Mones said.
Sexual assault has become a hot-button issue on college campuses, and some students at Florida A&M believe it was unacceptable that children were having to deal with these traumatic, criminal situations at such young ages. Students said they were even more upset that adults were taking advantage of their positions of authority.
According to an exposed court testimony last April, the organization believes that more than 7,800 of its former leaders were involved in sexually abusing more than 12,000 children over the course of 72 years. The organization paid $150 million in settlements and legal costs in 2017 and 2018.
Aliyah Balogun, a third-year pharmacy major at FAMU and former Girl Scouts member, isn’t that surprised by the news and says that it only takes a small moment for something to happen.
“There’s a lot of times where kids are left alone with troop leaders because parents think it’s a safe space for their children, but it doesn’t take much and I truly wouldn’t put anything past anyone,” Balogun said.
While critics believe that the organization is taking the easy way out by filing for bankruptcy, the organization’s defenders say that BSA made an “honorable” step in the right direction by facing up to its failures in protecting victims and finding a way to compensate them as well as stabilize the organization’s finances.
“The BSA cares deeply about all 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,” BSA president and CEO, Roger Mosby said in a statement last week.
“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.”