The Boy Scouts of America will begin to distribute compensation to thousands of victims of sexual abuse after emerging from bankruptcy Wednesday, the organization announced.
As part of a settlement with more than 82,000 survivors of abuse, the BSA will pay out $2.4 billion from a Victims Compensation Trust that was established by the court during its bankruptcy reorganization.
“This is a significant milestone for the BSA as we emerge from a three-year financial restructuring process with a global resolution approved with overwhelming support of more than 85% of the survivors involved in the case,” Chief Scout Executive, President and CEO Roger Mosby said in a statement.
“Our hope is that our Plan of Reorganization will bring some measure of peace to survivors of past abuse in Scouting, whose bravery, patience and willingness to share their experiences has moved us beyond words,” Mosby added.
The youth organization filed for bankruptcy in February 2020, when it was facing hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits involving thousands of alleged abuse survivors. In September 2022, a judge in Delaware federal bankruptcy court granted final approval for the confirmation of a reorganization plan.
“These boys – now men – seek and deserve compensation for the sexual abuse they suffered years ago,” Chief Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein wrote in an order last year. “Abuse which has had a profound effect on their lives and for which no compensation will ever be enough. They also seek to ensure that to the extent BSA survives, there is an environment where sexual abuse can never again thrive or be hidden from view.”
The co-founder of the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice, a group including more than two dozen law firms representing more than 70,000 of the claimants, said it was the largest sexual abuse settlement fund in history.
Coalition co-founder and attorney Adam Slater also commended the court for “bringing survivors one step closer to justice.”
“After years of protracted bankruptcy proceedings and decades of suffering in silence, tens of thousands of survivors of childhood sexual assault will now receive some tangible measure of justice. With this decision, the Plan will now become effective, and the Trust will be able to begin distribution of the historic $2.45B settlement fund,” Slater said.
“Even more important, it means that the safety measures and protections for current and future Scouts included in the Plan will also be put into place – and we know that for many survivors, this has been the highest priority,” Slater added.
The Boy Scouts of America have since enacted a number of protocols to “act as barriers to abuse.”
The protocols include mandatory youth protection training for volunteers and employees, a screening process that includes criminal background checks for new adult leaders and staff, and a policy requiring at least two youth-protection trained adults to be present with youth at all times during scouting activities.
The policy also bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interaction alone with children.