The Boys Scouts of America (BSA) on Thursday, July 1, offered $850 million in compensation to Scouts sexually abused by members of the organization, more than a year after the non-profit group filed for bankruptcy after facing thousands of allegations, The Hill reported.
The BSA had filed for bankruptcy after facing 275 abuse lawsuits and tens of thousands of allegations. But according to reports, by November 2020, the deadline for victims to come forward, the number of allegations had reached nearly 90,000, making it one of the largest sexual abuse cases against a single national organisation.
The compensatory settlement filed in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on Thursday will pay each claimant about $14,000.
That amount is significantly higher than what the BSA had initially proposed in March, when it said it planned to emerge from bankruptcy and deposit $220 million into a trust, leading to an average payout of $6,000 per victim.
Even during a bankruptcy court filing, it said it planned to sell dozens of Norman Rockwell paintings and oil and gas interests in 17 states to help pay its settlement with sexual abuse survivors.
As part of the settlement, the Boys Scouts of America will also grant the settlement trust access to all records of abusing members of the organization and agreed to insurance rights and protective measures in the organization’s current programs.
Ken Rothweiler, an attorney representing a group of more than 16,800 surviving victims, said in a statement that he was pleased that both the BSA and its local councils have made efforts to be the first to compensate Scouts who were abused.
He also mentioned that “This initial $850 million settlement is the largest sexual abuse claims settlement in U.S. history,” NBS News reported.
Rothweiler said most of his clients are in their 60s and 70s and the abuse occurred when they were teenagers.
Meanwhile, the BSA said in a statement that the settlement “will help local councils make their contributions to the Trust without additional drain on their assets, and will allow them to move forward with the national organization toward emergence from bankruptcy,” according to NBC.
The organization further stated that “There is still much to be done to obtain approval from the Court to solicit survivors to vote for the BSA’s amended Plan of Reorganization.” It said they hope to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of this year.
The Boy Scouts was founded in 1910 and expanded following the spread of the organization’s values of “patriotism, courage and independence.” According to the organization, more than 130 million young people have passed through its programs over the past 100 years.
Douglas Kennedy, the co-chair of the survivors’ committee, who said he was abused as a teenager on a Scout camping trip, said he has seen that an essential part of his mission is to do everything possible to ensure that this does not continue to happen.
He added that access to the records will also be beneficial to the public, so “anybody who was an abuser isn’t walking around serving other organizations.”