The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, Feb. 18, following the alleged sexual abuse lawsuits mounting against the longstanding organization. According to NBC News a spokesman said in a statement that the Chapter 11 suit had "two key objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come."
Additionally, "The BSA intends to use the Chapter 11 process to create a Victims Compensation Trust that would provide equitable compensation to victims." The longstanding organization filed for bankruptcy at the national level, but it has been reported that local programs are financially independent.
So, are the Boy Scouts of America going broke?
What to know about the abuse lawsuits filed against the Boy Scouts of America.
According to the NPR, nearly 300 men have come forward and have filed lawsuits against the non-profit organization claiming they had been sexually abused.
"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," Roger Mosby (BSA's president and CEO) said in a statement (via NBC News).
Adding: "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."
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy means that the BSA is looking to reorganize and create a plan of action to pay off the debt, while the business remains intact.
Due to a recent change in the statute-of-limitations laws, other alleged victims are coming forward claiming they too had been molested by leaders and scoutmasters while involved in the program.
According to ABC News, many of the lawsuits filed accuse the organization of cover-ups and negligence from decades ago.
One reported victim who claims to have suffered abuse in the 1970s, Scott Coats, told ABC that the BSA filing for "bankruptcy is not about finances." Adding, “This bankruptcy is about the reputation of the Boy Scouts of America and about silencing victims and keeping the truth away from the eyes of the public.”
Representing nearly 300 victims across 34 states, Seattle-based attorney Michael Pfau, said that this filing represents "the largest bankruptcy the country has ever seen."
"You're talking about thousands of perpetrators. You're talking about tens of thousands of victims," he explained. "This will be the largest bankruptcy the country has ever seen, and likely one of the largest corporate bankruptcies."
Since December 2018, there have been numerous reports about the BSA potentially filing for bankruptcy with declining membership, rising costs, and pending lawsuits against the organization.
If you need support, The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673. You will be connected with a trained staff member in your area. Or visit RAINN.org to chat online with a support specialist at any time.