Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for bankruptcy in February of this year amid negative publicity surrounding sexual abuse cases and dwindling enrollment numbers. The bankruptcy judge over the case has now set November 16, 2020, at 5 pm EST as the deadline to file any claims against the organization, whether it be creditor or abuse related.
The legal team representing the organization had argued for a quicker deadline of October 6, 2020; however, the attorneys for sexual abuse survivors wanted to push it out until December 31, 2020, assuring all survivors have ample time to submit their claims. The November date is a compromise between the two parties, yet it still puts pressure on survivors to get their claims in as soon as possible.
The stringent deadline requires that all survivors who suffered abuse come forward immediately in order to seek justice and receive compensation for the past wrongdoings of the Boy Scouts organization. As a ‘claims bar deadline,’ if not filed by November 16, 2020, survivors will no longer have any recourse to receive compensation from their abusers.
What is a Claims Bar Deadline?
A claims bar deadline means that anyone who suffered abuse as a child while in the Boy Scouts of America and their affiliate organizations must, without exception, file a Proof of Claim form prior to the deadline. If such a claim is not filed by that date, an abuse survivor is barred from ever bringing a claim against the organization. This is irregardless of the statute of limitations in any state or federal court.
Abuse in the Boy Scouts of America
Sexual abuse suffered during childhood at the hands of trusted persons more often than not goes unreported. It isn’t until adulthood that the abuse is revealed, yet still carries with it shame and embarrassment, causing many to avoid making any type of claim even then. The short filing period allotted by the bankruptcy court is sure to cause additional anxiety for those who are ready to make a claim, however.
Boy Scout files examined in court reveal that the abuse has been occurring since the 1920s, with at least 12,000 sexual abuse cases recorded since the 1940s. Although new measures were put in place by the organization in the early to mid-1980s, such as mandatory criminal background checks and training, the abuse continued. This means there could be potentially hundreds if not thousands of claims filed before the November deadline.
What About Local Councils?
As a national organization, Boy Scouts of America consists of hundreds of local councils throughout the country. These councils oversee the Boy Scout troops, Cub Scout packs, as well as other groups within the local communities.
Although these local councils are considered legally independent from the national organization, they have not filed for bankruptcy on their own. This does not mean the councils are exempt from the proceedings, however. Attorneys for abuse survivors are determined to hold these local councils accountable and have vowed to go after any property they own to add to the overall fund for survivors.
What Will Happen After the Deadline Passes?
Once the November deadline has passed, no further claims will be accepted. All claims that have been filed will be presented in the bankruptcy court. By this time, the court will be aware of all assets owned by Boy Scouts of America, and these will be disbursed once the court approves a bankruptcy plan.
The bankruptcy resolution itself will be mediated by the parties involved. This will include abuse survivors and their legal representation, BSA, insurance companies, and creditors. The goal is to reach a fair distribution plan for all of Boy Scouts of America assets to all involved parties.
We Can Help You File Your Claim
Lamothe Law Firm is highly experienced in representing sexual assault victims and understands the emotional impact involved in filing a claim. If you have suffered abuse by someone affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, give our attorneys contact us today for a free consultation.