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The Boy Scouts of America filed a reorganization plan this week, which includes a proposed $300 million settlement fund for victims of sexual abuse as children, through exposure to Boy Scouts employees and volunteers.
The proposal was submitted on Monday in a bankruptcy court in Delaware, and would provide compensation for tens of thousands of individuals sexually assaulted by members of the organization, but the average settlement would be only $6,000, which critics indicate is far too low given the assets of the organization and decades of covering up abuse and enabling predators associated with the Boy Scouts.
Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last year, as it faced a growing number of lawsuits which alleged the organization failed to protect children from individuals with a known history of abusing children, and covered up decades of credible reports of problems.
While it was initially expected there would be about 50,000 claims, eventually claims were submitted through the bankruptcy proceedings by nearly 90,000 former Boy Scouts and other individuals, claiming they were abused or assaulted as children through negligence of the organization. It is the largest sex abuse case involving a national organization in U.S. history.
As part of the proposed Boy Scouts settlement, the organization would provide a $300 million trust fund for the sex abuse victims, formed by contributions from about 250 Boy Scouts local councils nationwide. In addition, the national group promises that any unrestricted cash left over from what it needs for its operations will also go into the fund.
In addition, the organization is also selling its art collection, including pieces by Norman Rockwell and Walt Disney, and 1,000 properties comprising its oil and gas interests across 17 states.
Plaintiffs have yet to file a formal response to the proposed plan, but the offer is expected to meet sharp resistance from sexual abuse lawyers and victim advocates.
Over the past few years, information has emerged that uncovered a long history of the Boy Scouts of America organization burying information about known threats to children by keeping secret “perversion files” on those considered to be sexual predators who had worked with the organization.
Prior information suggested that between 1944 and 2016, there were 7,819 perpetrators nationwide who were either troop leaders or volunteers, believed to have abused at least 12,254 victims. However, it now appears that the scope of the problems in the Boy Scouts was much larger than initially thought.